Jacalin (Artocarpus integrifolia agglutinin) specifically recognizes thetumor-associated T-antigenic disaccharide structure, Galγ13GalNAc. Porphyrins and their derivatives are currently used asphotosensitizers in photodynamic therapy to treat malignant tumors. In thisstudy, the interaction of several free base porphyrins and their metalderivatives with jacalin is investigated by absorption and fluorescencespectroscopy. Each lectin subunit was found to bind one porphyrin moleculeand the association constants were estimated to be in the range of 2.4 × 103M−1 to 1.3 × 105M−1 at room temperaturefor the interaction of different porphyrins with jacalin. These values arein the same range as those obtained for the interaction of monosaccharidesto jacalin. Both free lectin and lectin saturated with the specificsaccharide were found to bind different porphyrins with comparable bindingstrength indicating that porphyrin binding takes place at a site differentfrom the sugar binding site. Further, both anionic and cationic porphyrinswere found to interact with the lectin with comparable affinity, clearlyindicating that the charge on the porphyrin does not play any role in thebinding process and that most likely the interaction is mediated byhydrophobic forces. These results suggest that jacalin and other lectins maypotentially be useful for targeted delivery of porphyrins to tumor tissuesin photodynamic therapy.

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