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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lectins isolated from Korean mistletoe (Viscum album coloratum) induce apoptosis in tumor cells.

Cytotoxic lectins (KML-C) were isolated from an extract of Korean mistletoe [Viscum album C. (coloratum)] by affinity chromatography on a hydrolysed Sepharose 4B column, and the chemical and biological properties of KML-C were examined, partly by comparing them with a lectin (EML-1) from European mistletoe[Viscum album L. (loranthaceae)]. The hemagglutinating activity of KML-C was inhibited by N-acetyl-D-galactosamine and D-galactose at the minimum concentrations of 6.3 and 12.5 microM/ml, respectively. Further biochemical analyses indicated that KML-C consists of four chains (Mr = 27.5, 30, 31 and 32.5 kDa) which, in some of the molecules, are disulfide-linked, and that the chains of KML-C are distributed over a broad range of isoelectric points (pI), 8.0 to 9.0, whereas the range for EML-1 is 6.6-7. 0. A difference was also observed between the N-terminal sequences of KML-C and EML-1. The isolated lectins showed strong cytotoxicity against various human and murine tumor cells, and the cytotoxic activity of KML-C was higher than that of EML-1. Tumor cells treated with KML-C exhibited typical patterns of apoptotic cell death, such as apparent morphological changes and DNA fragmentation, and its apoptosis-inducing activity was blocked by addition of Zn2+, an inhibitor of Ca2+/Mg2+ -dependent endonucleases, in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that KML-C is a novel lectin related to the cytotoxicity of Korean mistletoe, and that its cytotoxic activity against tumor cells is due to apoptosis mediated by Ca2+/Mg2+ -dependent endonucleases.[1]


  1. Lectins isolated from Korean mistletoe (Viscum album coloratum) induce apoptosis in tumor cells. Yoon, T.J., Yoo, Y.C., Kang, T.B., Shimazaki, K., Song, S.K., Lee, K.H., Kim, S.H., Park, C.H., Azuma, I., Kim, J.B. Cancer Lett. (1999) [Pubmed]
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