Special Issue "Lectins: From Biochemical and Structural Studies to Biotechnological and Biomedical Applications"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).
Lectins are the subject of numerous investigations in our days, since they have immense potential. These ubiquitous carbohydrate-binding proteins are involved in many essential cellular and molecular recognition and signalling processes, such as innate immunity, fertilisation, adhesion. They can decipher the glycocode information hidden in carbohydrates thanks to their ability to specifically recognize particular glycan structures in a reversible and non-catalytic manner. In accordance with the pivotal role of glycosylation in physiological and pathological processes and the subsequent growing interest in glycomics, lectins are sought-after molecular tools for glycome profiling. Lectins also play a crucial role in host–pathogen interactions and have now become targets for the development of glycodrugs as new anti-infectious agents. The very diverse functions of lectins result from their many interesting properties, such as antifungal, antiviral, vermicide, insecticide, antiproliferative, antitumor, or immunostimulating activities. Depending on these properties, lectins can be utilized in science, medicine, and biotechnological and biopharmaceutical industries. They are indeed promising biorecognition molecules with diagnostic and therapeutic potential, in particular in cancer research.
In the recent years, the number of isolated lectins has greatly increased, and several lectins with novel folds, specificity, and multivalency have been described. New families have been identified, but the panel of characterised lectins still needs to be enlarged. The identification and characterisation of lectins directly purified from natural extracts or lacking genetic data remain a challenge; therefore, it is important to develop techniques to facilitate these processes. A better understanding of the biological activities of lectins and of the mechanisms by which they recognize and bind to carbohydrates is also essential, as are methods to improve their production and availability, notably in recombinant forms. The engineering of existing scaffolds can be useful to expand or modify the specificity or activities of lectins. Many applications are under development, and new ones can still be identified and explored.
The purpose of this Special Issue is to highlight the most recent contributions on lectins, from identification to applications. Communication, original research papers, and reviews by researchers in the field are welcome.
Dr. Annabelle Varrot
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Glycoconjugates recognition
- Lectin multivalency
- Lectin engineering
- Molecular probes
- Biomedical and biopharmaceutical applications