Plant lectins are bioactive glycoproteins possessing carbohydrate-recognition domain which exhibit regiospecific, cell-surface specific and reversible interactions with glycoconjugates. Since, they can decode biological information, lectins play a pivotal role in mediating and triggering diverse cellular phenomena. They serve as powerful tools in immunological studies and can be employed as immunohistochemistry markers in diagnosis of cancer and profiling of cell surface types due to expression of aberrant glycans on diseased and transformed cells. Because of its affinity for mucin, lectin-mediated vaccine delivery seems to be a promising concept in the design of mucosal immunization via oral route of administration. Lectin-based glycotargeting provides site-specific and controlled release of drug from polymeric microparticulate systems and can be used for delivery to epithelial lining of gastrointestinal (GI) tract, eye, and pulmonary tract. Therefore, plant lectins are instrumental in diagnosis, prophylaxis and treatment of a wide array of diseases.
Key words: Lectin, agglutinin, immunohistochemistry marker, mucosal adjuvant, lectin-functionalized drug delivery system.
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