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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011, Article ID 568932, 9 pages
Research Article

Cytotoxic Effects of Native and Recombinant Frutalin, a Plant Galactose-Binding Lectin, on HeLa Cervical Cancer Cells

Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering (IBB), Centre of Biological Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal

Received 25 February 2011; Revised 17 August 2011; Accepted 17 August 2011

Academic Editor: M. Piacentini

Copyright © 2011 Carla Oliveira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Frutalin is the α-D-galactose-binding lectin isolated from breadfruit seeds. Frutalin was obtained from two different sources: native frutalin was purified from its natural origin, and recombinant frutalin was produced and purified from Pichia pastoris. This work aimed to study and compare the effect of native and recombinant frutalin on HeLa cervical cancer cells proliferation and apoptosis. Furthermore, the interaction between frutalin and the HeLa cells was investigated by confocal microscopy. Despite having different carbohydrate-binding affinities, native and recombinant frutalin showed an identical magnitude of cytotoxicity on HeLa cells growth (IC50~100 μg/mL) and equally induced cell apoptosis. The interaction studies showed that both lectins were rapidly internalised and targeted to HeLa cell's nucleus. Altogether, these results indicate that frutalin action is not dependent on its sugar-binding properties. This study provides important information about the bioactivity of frutalin and contributes to the understanding of the plant lectins cytotoxic activity.