Protein or glycoprotein substances of plant origin that bind to sugar moieties in cell walls or membranes. Some carbohydrate-metabolizing proteins (ENZYMES) from PLANTS also bind to carbohydrates, however they are not considered lectins. Many plant lectins change the physiology of the membrane of BLOOD CELLS to cause agglutination, mitosis, or other biochemical changes. They may play a role in plant defense mechanisms.
Proteins that share the common characteristic of binding to carbohydrates. Some ANTIBODIES and carbohydrate-metabolizing proteins (ENZYMES) also bind to carbohydrates, however they are not considered lectins. PLANT LECTINS are carbohydrate-binding proteins that have been primarily identified by their hemagglutinating activity (HEMAGGLUTININS). However, a variety of lectins occur in animal species where they serve diverse array of functions through specific carbohydrate recognition.