Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) is a lectin that is affinity purified from Triticum vulgaris and non-enzymatically binds to N-acetyl-D-glucosamine and sialic acid residues of glycoproteins and glycolipids. This lectin protects Triticum vulgaris from insects, yeast and bacteria. WGA consists of two subunits and has a molecular weight of 36 kDa. It is an acidic protein and has mitogenic activity toward lymphocytes. It agglutinates erythrocytes and most types of malignant cells.
Similar to insulin, WGA enhances the rate of glucose oxidation in isolated fat cells and is used for isolation and fractionation of insulin receptors. A recent time-of-addition study made it evident that WGA inhibits infection with SARS-CoV-2 by inhibiting replication when the lectin is incubated with the virus and added to cells during infection. The data from the same study indicated the mode of action is an interaction between WGA and the viral envelope, causing neutralization of the virus. It is possible this occurs via the highly glycosylated spike proteins. WGA has been used in oral squamous cell carcinoma staining techniques to test the degree of cell cohesion. It has been shown to inhibit melanoma cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. Cytotoxic activity on cancer cell lines is characteristic of WGA. The effects of its binding have been studied in a plethora of cancers including but not limited to hepatoma, choriocarcinoma, osteosarcoma, and some pancreatic cancers.
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 WGA. Colloidal gold labeled lectins can be viewed via electron microscopy
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Source: Triticum vulgaris (Wheat germ)
Activity: 10 µg/ml will agglutinate human erythrocytes nonspecifically.
Carbohydrate Specificity: N-Acetylglucosamine
Inhibitory Carbohydrate: Chitin hydrolysate or 500 mM N-Acetylglucosamine
Mitogenic Activity: Yes
Divalent Ions Required: Ca2+, Mn2+
Conjugation: Colloidal Gold
Storage and Stability:
Store frozen at -20°C in amber vials or covered with foil in appropriate aliquot sizes. Avoid freeze thaw cycles. Can be stored at 2-8°C for short term use.