Lectins mimic insulin in the induction of tyrosine aminotransferase

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Science  13 Nov 1981:
Vol. 214, Issue 4522, pp. 799-800
DOI: 10.1126/science.6117128


Various lectins were found to induce tyrosine aminotransferase in H-35 rat hepatoma cells grown in monolayer culture. Wheat germ agglutinin gave a maximal induction of tyrosine aminotransferase 6 hours after its addition. The induction time course was similar to that elicited by insulin. Fourteen micrograms of wheat germ agglutinin per milliliter gave half-maximal enzyme induction and 50 micrograms per milliliter gave the maximal response. The induction of tyrosine aminotransferase by wheat germ agglutinin was additive with the induction by either dexamethasone or dibutyryl adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate, but was not additive with the tyrosine amino transferase induction by insulin. Wheat germ agglutinin also mimicked insulin in the inhibition of cellular protein degradation in the absence of serum. The insulin-like effects of lectins should be considered in lectin-mediated manipulations such as agglutination.