Lectins are an important group of proteins which are spread in all kingdoms of life. Their most lighted characteristic is associated to their specific carbohydrate binding, although function has been not even identified. According to their carbohydrate specificity, several biological activities have been assessed, finding that lectins can be used as mitogenic agents, biomarkers, and cytotoxic and insecticide proteins. Lectins have been classified according to several features such as structure, source, and carbohydrate recognition. The Protein Research Group (PRG) has worked on Colombian seeds from the family of Fabaceae and Lamiaceae plants, isolating and characterizing their lectins, and found more than one lectin in some plants, indicating that according to its specificity, different lectins can have different biological activities. In the case of legume domain lectins, they have shown the biggest potential as insecticide or insectistatic agents due to the glycosylation pattern in insect midgut cells. This review attempts to identify the characteristics of plant legume lectin domains that determine their insecticidal and insectistatic activities.
Part of the book: Insecticides