Bauhinia purpurea agglutinin or lectin (BPA/BPL) is a tetrameric lectin with a molecular weight of 195,000. Binding appears to be highest for glycoconjugates containing galactosyl (β-1,3)N-acetylgalactosamine structures but oligosaccharides with a terminal α-linked N-acetylgalactosamine can also bind. BPA is lactose-specific and elutes with the sugar lactose. It has specificity for blood groups A, B, O (-SA). Treatment of erythrocytes with neuraminidase or trypsin will increase the agglutination reaction, indicating that the receptor is masked by terminal carbohydrates.
Although binding specificity is similar to that of peanut agglutinin, tissue staining patterns of these two lectins are distinct. Makela's group 2 sugars, particularly N-acetyl-D-galactosamine, are potent inhibitors. The native protein appears to be stable in detergent solution.
Texas Red is a red-fluorescent dye and when bound to Bauhinia purpurea Lectin (BPL/BPA) can show the binding pattern of this lectin in cellular imaging applications. There is very little overlap between the emission spectra of Texas Red and FITC making this combination ideal for dual-labeling experiments. Rhodamine dyes, such as Texas Red, are more photostable and less sensitive to pH change when compared to other dyes such as fluorescein.