Lectins, the carbohydrate binding proteins have been studied extensively in view of their ubiquitous
nature and wide-ranging applications. As they were originally found in plant seed extracts, much of the work
on them was focused on plant seed lectins, especially those from legume seeds whereas much less attention
was paid to the lectins from other plant families. During the last two decades many studies have been reported
on lectins from the seeds of Cucurbitaceae species. The main focus of the present review is to provide an overview of the
current knowledge on these proteins, especially with regard to their physico-chemical characterization, interaction with
carbohydrates and hydrophobic ligands, 3-dimensional structure and similarity to type-II ribosome inactivating proteins.
The future outlook of research on these galactose-specific proteins is also briefly considered.
Keywords: 3-dimensional structure, carbohydrate binding, chemical unfolding, hemagglutinin, hydrophobic ligand binding,
thermal unfolding, type-II RIP.
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