Contribution of the Root Cap to Soil Fertility: Extracellular Plant Lectins pp.65-80
Authors: (Curlango-Rivera G, Albala G, Kemp JP, Duclos DV, Hawes MC, Department of Plant Sciences, Division of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ, and others)
Abstract: Lectins are proteins with multiple sites that bind specific sugars and therefore can
agglutinate cells or other substrates with those sugars on the surface. This property is
exploited in detecting human ABO blood type, defined based on the presence of distinct
surface sugars that result in agglutination of blood cells in response to appropriate lectins.
This capacity to bind to specific sites on cell surfaces is of interest for its potential in
treating human diseases including cancer, AIDS, and diabetes. In plants, species-specific
lectins are secreted from root tips into the extracellular environment of agronomically
important crops including legumes and cereals. The function, stability and distribution of
these proteins after export from root cells into the extracellular environment remain
unexplored. Experiments to examine predictions of the hypothesis that root-secreted
lectins influence soil structure and fertility, rhizosphere microbial communities, and root
nutrient cycling are warranted.
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