A Chitin-Binding Lectin from Stinging Nettle Rhizomes with Antifungal Properties

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Science  08 Sep 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4922, pp. 1100-1102
DOI: 10.1126/science.245.4922.1100


Rhizomes of stinging nettle contain a small-sized lectin that exhibits binding specificity toward chitin. This lectin inhibits growth of several phytopathogenic and saprophytic chitin-containing fungi in vitro. The antifungal action of the nettle lectin differs from the action of chitinases, which are a ubiquitous class of antifungal plant proteins. Moreover, the nettle lectin acts synergistically with chitinase in inhibiting fungal growth. The nettle lectin may be a promising candidate for possible applications in the genetic engineering of disease-resistant crops.

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