Lectins are present in the exudate (presumably from the phloem) of the fruits of three species of the Cucurbitaceae, namely vegetable marrow (Cucurbita pepo), melon (Cucumis melo) and cucumber (Cucumis sativus). They are all strongly inhibited in their activities by chitin oligosaccharides, but only weakly by N-acetylglucosamine. Glycopeptides from soya-bean agglutinin and fetuin are also strong inhibitors of Cucurbita pepo lectin, indicating that it interacts with internal N-acetylglucosamine residues. The lectin from Cucurbita pepo fruit was purified by affinity chromatography by using chitin oligosaccharides covalently attached to Sepharose. The lectin is not a glycoprotein, and it consists of a single polypeptide chain of about 20,000 mol.wt. It is a major protein (18% of the total) of the phloem exudate and it is postulated that it may have an anti-parasitic function.

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