Drug Discov Ther. 2017;11(6):329-335. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2017.01071)

Protective effects of Phaseolus vulgaris lectin against viral infection in Drosophila.

Ekowati H, Arai J, Damana Putri AS, Nainu F, Shiratsuchi A, Nakanishi Y


Phytohemagglutinin (PHA) isolated from the family of Phaseolus vulgaris beans is a promising agent against viral infection; however, it has not yet been demonstrated in vivo. We herein investigated this issue using Drosophila as a host. Adult flies were fed lectin approximately 12 h before they were subjected to a systemic viral infection. After a fatal infection with Drosophila C virus, death was delayed and survival was longer in flies fed PHA-P, a mixture of L4, L3E1, and L2E2, than in control unfed flies. We then examined PHA-L4, anticipating subunit L as the active form, and confirmed the protective effects of this lectin at markedly lower concentrations than PHA-P. In both experiments, lectin feeding reduced the viral load prior to the onset of fly death. Furthermore, we found a dramatic increase in the levels of the mRNAs of phagocytosis receptors in flies after feeding with PHA-L4 while a change in the levels of the mRNAs of antimicrobial peptides was marginal. We concluded that P. vulgaris PHA protects Drosophila against viral infection by augmenting the level of host immunity.

KEYWORDS: Antiviral effect, innate immunity, plant lectin

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