The presence of hydrophobic sites in the lectin-I molecule was indicated by hydrophobic probes like 1-anilinonapthalene-8-sulfonic acid (ANS), 2-p-toluidinyl napthalene-6-sulfonic acid (TNS), N-phenyl-1-napthylamine (NA) and rose bengal (RB). This was further confirmed by amino acid modifications in the hydrophobic region of the lectin-I molecule. The binding of ANS, TNS, NA and RB to lectin-I was affected in the presence of NaCl. The involvement of hydrophobic interactions in rice-bean lectin-I-endogenous lectin receptor (ELR) complex were indicated by alterations in the circular dichroism and fluorescence emission spectra. The percentage of β-conformation (55–63%) of lectin-I was decreased by addition of ELR. ELR on reacting with lectin-I reduced the fluorescence emissions of the hydrophobic probes while fluorescence emission of ANS, TNS, NA and RB were greatly enhanced in presence of lectin-I alone. N-aceyl-galactosamine did not change the fluorescence emissions of any of the hydrophobic probes in presence or in absence of lectin-I. This demonstrates that carbohydrate and hydrophobic sites may be different and non-interacting. It is proposed that the ELR in reacting with lectin-I, induced conformational changes in the lectin-I molecule and thereby affected its erythroagglutinating activity with human blood group “A” erythrocytes.

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