Lectin-carbohydrate interaction in the immune system. Academic Article uri icon


  • The immune system consists of various types of cells and molecules that specifically interact with each other to initiate the host defense mechanism. Recent studies have shown that carbohydrates and lectins (carbohydrate-binding proteins) play an essential role in mediating such interactions. Both lectins and carbohydrates are widely distributed in the mammalian tissues as well as in microorganisms. Carbohydrates, due to their chemical nature, can potentially form structures that are more variable than proteins and nucleic acids. Lectins can exist in either soluble or cell-associated form, and although overall structures vary, invariably possess carbohydrate-recognition domains (CRD) with various specificities. The interaction between lectins and carbohydrates have been shown to be involved in such activities as opsonization of microorganisms, phagocytosis, cell adhesion and migration, cell activation and differentiation, and apoptosis. The number of lectins identified in the immune system is increasing at a rapid pace. The development in this area has opened a new aspect in studying the immune system, and at the same time, provided new therapeutic routes for the treatment and prevention of disease.

published proceedings

  • Vet Immunol Immunopathol

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Ni, Y., & Tizard, I.

citation count

  • 50

complete list of authors

  • Ni, Y||Tizard, I

publication date

  • January 1996