Background: Individual and collaborative efforts are being made worldwide in search
of effective chemical or natural drugs with less severe side-effects for treatment of cancer. Due to
the specificity and selectivity properties of lectins for saccharides, several plant lectins are known
to induce cytotoxicity into tumor cells.
Objective: To study the antiproliferative activity of two N-acetyl galactosamine specific plant
lectins from seeds of Bauhinia purpurea and Wisteria floribunda against MCF-7 Breast cancer cell
Methods: MTT, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) leakage, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and caspase-
3 assays and flow cytometry for cell cycle analysis were performed.
Results: The agglutinins BPL and WFL; 446 μgml-1 (2.2 μM) and 329 μgml-1 (2.8 μM), respectively
caused remarkable concentration-dependent antiproliferative effect on MCF-7. The effect was
seen to be a consequence of binding of the lectin to the cell surface and triggering S and G2 phase
arrest. Apoptosis induced was found to be associated with LDH leakage, cell cycle arrest and ROS
generation. The apoptotic signal was observed to be amplified by activation of caspase-3 resulting
in cell death.
Conclusion: The study provides a base for detailed investigation and further use of lectins in cancer