Affinity purified Ulex europaeus agglutinin (UEA II) is isolated from gorse seeds and separated from crude extract. This lectin is a glycoprotein that consists of four 24,000 Da monomer subunits that require Ca2+ for binding to its ligands through carbohydrate recognition domain. It is specific for di-N-acetylchitobiose, an oligomer of GlcNAc. The monosaccharide GlcNAc is not an inhibitor of the lectin activity. UEA II has no mitogenic activity and agglutinates type O erythrocytes with greater interest than type A3 erythrocytes. Addition of EDTA eliminates agglutinating activity. Agglutinating activity can be recovered with the addition of calcium.
UEA II is a potent inhibitor of the lectin complement pathway following endothelial oxidative stress. The molecular mechanism of UEA II-induced inhibition of the lectin complement pathway appears to be through competition for a common binding site on the endothelial cell and not at the level of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) inhibition. See other UEA II conjugates.