Affinity-purified Polygonatum odoratum(POL)lectin, isolated from the Chinese medicine herb (Mill.) Druce, shows anti-tumor activity, including apoptosis- and autophagy-inducing properties determined by cellular morphology observation, flow cytometry, and immunoblotting. This lectin is a homo-tetramer linked by non-covalent bonds and has a molecular weight of 11953.623 Da per subunit. POL simultaneously induces apoptosis and autophagy in human non-small cell lung cancer cells. This lectin inhibits the Akt-NF-kB pathway while triggering autophagy via suppressing the Akt-mTOR pathway. POL displays no significant cytotoxicity toward normal human embryonic lung fibroblast HELF cells. Due to its anti-tumor activities, this mannose and sialic acid-binding lectin may become a potent anti-cancer drug in future therapies.
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