prof. dr. Van Damme Els
Inducible lectins can help plants to cope with abiotic and biotic stresses
We recently reported a new class of inducible lectins which is only expressed after exposure of the plant to changing environmental conditions. Plants synthesize lectins upon exposure to stress situations like drought, cold, high salt, hormone treatment, pathogen attack and insect herbivore. Evidence accumulates that these lectins are involved in endogenous signalling events and play a role in signalling reactions for growth and defence. To date, six families of inducible lectins have been identified differing from each other in the three-dimensional structure of the lectin motif and their carbohydrate-binding properties. Knowledge on the protein-carbohydrate interactions induced by stress situations can be used to obtain plants with a better performance.
Fundamental insights on the regulation and physiological importance of the stress inducible proteins in plants can be exploited to create plants with a better growth, higher yield and better protection against pests and diseases.