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Plant lectins: The ties that bind in root symbiosis and plant defense


Lectins are a diverse group of carbohydrate-binding proteins that are found within and associated with organisms from all kingdoms of life. Several different classes of plant lectins serve a diverse array of functions. The most prominent of these include participation in plant defense against predators and pathogens and involvement in symbiotic interactions between host plants and symbiotic microbes, including mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia. Extensive biological, biochemical, and molecular studies have shed light on the functions of plant lectins, and a plethora of uncharacterized lectin genes are being revealed at the genomic scale, suggesting unexplored and novel diversity in plant lectin structure and function. Integration of the results from these different types of research is beginning to yield a more detailed understanding of the function of lectins in symbiosis, defense, and plant biology in general. © 2009 The Author(s).

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