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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemistry

First Advisor

Tarun K. Dam


Protein glycosylation is an important post-translational modification for many biological processes such as cell recognition, intercellular communication and cell death. Proteins that are able to bind to glycosylated proteins via carbohydrates are called lectins. Hemolytic lectins are proteins or glycoproteins that undergo specific interactions with cell surface carbohydrates and subsequently induce cellular lysis. They are termed “hemo” lytic because of their ability to lyse erythrocytes. We have isolated a novel hemolytic lectin named HelyX from the bulbs of a monocot plant, as well as a mannosebinding lectin named DIL from a separate monocot species. HelyX is a uniquely robust hemolytic lectin. It shows concentration dependent reversible hemolytic/agglutinating properties against both human and rabbit erythrocytes. The activity was found to be carbohydrate dependent. HelyX was isolated using ammonium sulfate precipitation, size exclusion chromatography, and analyzed by gel electrophoresis. DIL was purified using a modified version of a newly developed protocol. DIL interacts with the plant enzyme invertase with high affinity. This high affinity interaction suggests that the binding site of DIL is complimentary to glycoproteins containing larger high mannose glycans. Invertase is central to plant metabolism and defense. Therefore, DIL might play a modulatory role in plant metabolism and defense through its interaction with invertase. HelyX and DIL did not show lytic activity on free living amoeba, Acanthamoebae. Instead the lectins promoted cyst formation of amoeabae trophozoites indicating a lectin-mediated rearrangement of membrane architecture. This result indicates that the lytic activity of HelyX or DIL depends on the macromolecular landscape of the cell membrane.