In contrast to plant agglutinins, biological activities of animal/human lectins are not well defined yet. Testing a panel of seven mammalian carbohydrate-binding proteins we have found that the dimeric lectin from chicken liver (CL-16) was a stimulator of H2O2 release from human neutrophils as well as effector for induction of cytosolic Ca2+ and pH increase in rat thymocytes. Activity of this lectin was comparable to potent galactoside-specific plant lectins such as Viscum album L. agglutinin. The activities of the tested plant lectins depended significantly on their nominal carbohydrate specificity as well as on the source. The results indicate that endogenous lectins may be involved in the regulation of neutrophil and lymphocyte functions by elicitation of selective biosignaling reactions.

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