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Special Issue "Lectins: From Biochemical and Structural Studies to Biotechnological and Biomedical Applications"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Annabelle Varrot
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, CERMAV, 38000 Grenoble, France
Interests: structural glycobiochemistry, carbohydrate recognition, protein X-ray crystallography, deciphering lectin–carbohydrates interactions, recombinant lectins

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Lectins
  • Structure
  • Glycoconjugates recognition
  • Lectin multivalency
  • Lectin engineering
  • Molecular probes
  • Glycocompounds
  • Biomedical and biopharmaceutical applications
  • Glycomics

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
LM-GlycomeAtlas Ver. 1.0: A Novel Visualization Tool for Lectin Microarray-Based Glycomic Profiles of Mouse Tissue Sections
Molecules 2019, 24(16), 2962; - 15 Aug 2019
For the effective discovery of the biological roles and disease-specific alterations concerning protein glycosylation in tissue samples, it is important to know beforehand the quantitative and qualitative variations of glycan structures expressed in various types of cells, sites, and tissues. To this end, [...] Read more.
For the effective discovery of the biological roles and disease-specific alterations concerning protein glycosylation in tissue samples, it is important to know beforehand the quantitative and qualitative variations of glycan structures expressed in various types of cells, sites, and tissues. To this end, we used laser microdissection-assisted lectin microarray (LMA) to establish a simple and reproducible method for high-throughput and in-depth glycomic profiling of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue sections. Using this “tissue glycome mapping” approach, we present 234 glycomic profiling data obtained from nine tissue sections (pancreas, heart, lung, thymus, gallbladder, stomach, small intestine, colon, and skin) of two 8-week-old male C57BL/6J mice. We provided this LMA-based dataset in the similar interface as that of GlycomeAtlas, a previously developed tool for mass spectrometry-based tissue glycomic profiling, allowing easy comparison of the two types of data. This online tool, called “LM-GlycomeAtlas”, allows users to visualize the LMA-based tissue glycomic profiling data associated with the sample information as an atlas. Since the present dataset allows the comparison of glycomic profiles, it will facilitate the evaluation of site- and tissue-specific glycosylation patterns. Taking advantage of its extensibility, this tool will continue to be updated with the expansion of deposited data. Full article
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