Sepharose 4B affinity chromatography of Trichosanthes anguina seed extract and subsequent elution with galactose resulted in the isolation of an apparently single lectin with molecular weight of 45,000 +/- 700. However, major amount of the hemagglutinating activity was recovered as unadsorbed protein fraction. High affinity matrix Lactamyl Seralose could retain most of the galactose specific lectin activity from fraction 'A' which was eluted with lactose. It is evident from PAGE and SDS-PAGE analysis of the purified protein that T. anguina seeds contains a mixture of isolectins ranging in molecular weight from 30,000 to 50,000 +/- 1300. Periodic Acid Schiff's staining of the gels revealed this lectin complex to be a combination of glycosylated and non-glycosylated lectins. Two Isolectins SLc and IEL from within this complex have been isolated by affinity and ion exchange chromatography respectively. Apparent homology of these two lectins is indicated by their identical molecular weight (45 kDa), sub unit composition, non glycoprotein nature and immunological identity. However, these two lectins show minor differences in their biological and physicochemical properties. The peptide maps of the two lectins obtained after digestion with Trypsin and Pronase E also indicate minor changes in the primary structure.
Both positively charged and negatively charged porphyrins bind to snake gourd seed lectin (SGSL) with comparable affinities, suggesting that binding occurs primarily via hydrophobic interactions. Further, binding of porphyrins is found to be largely unaffected by the presence of the sugar ligand, lactose, indicating that the binding sites for the carbohydrate and porphyrin are different. This study thus suggests that the lectin may serve as a receptor for some endogenous non- carbohydrate , hydrophobic ligand in vivo, in addition to the saccharide ligands. It also opens up the possibility of employing the T. anguina lectin in applications such as photodynamic therapy, which involve the use of porphyrins. See:J Photochem Photobiol B 2000 Mar;55(1):49-55
The lectin from the seeds of snake gourd (Trichosanthes anguina) has been crystallized in two forms using the hanging-drop method. Both the forms are hexagonal, with the asymmetric unit containing one subunit consisting of two polypeptide chains linked through disulfide bridges. Intensity data from one of the forms were collected at room temperature as well as at low temperature to 3 A resolution. Molecular-replacement studies indicate that the lectin is homologous to type II ribosome-inactivating proteins. Partial refinement confirms this conclusion. See: Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr 2001 Jun;57(Pt 6):912-4