Datura stramonium agglutinin or lectin (DSA/DSL) is purified by affinity chromatography. Seeds of Datura stramonium contain at least three different carbohydrate-binding proteins, and the most prominent lectin is a dimeric glycoprotein composed of two nonidentical subunits that contains 40% carbohydrate. It binds well to N-acetylglucosamine, oligomers, and branched pentasaccharide, including two N-acetylglucosamine disaccharides linked to mannose (β-1,6) and (β-1,2), which is known to be the most potent inhibitor of agglutination. DSL prefers binding to (GlcNAc)2-4 and elutes with the sugar chitin hydrolysate. DSL binds well in the acidic pH range and its affinity decreases above pH 8.0. This agglutinin has blood group A, B, and O specificity. Studies have shown that DSA can act as a biomarker for neoplastic urotherial cells.
Colloidal gold can be used to visualize localization of specific saccharide moieties and examine the distribution of plasma membrane glycoproteins based on the binding pattern of Datura stramonium Lectin (DSA/DSL). Colloidal gold labeled lectins can be viewed via electron microscopy.