Lectins are an inherent component of plant immunity systems. Van Holle et al. study the occurrence and evolution of the family of Nictaba-like lectin genes and report the omnipresence of these genes in a wide range of plant species, including major food crops.
Many of these proposed lectins are multi-domain proteins composed of a Nictaba domain and various protein domains involved in signalling and defence-related processes. This study, focused on soybean (Glycine max) provides evidence that the protein architecture of these lectins has evolved to employ these domains in plant development, stress signalling and defence.
This paper is part of the Annals of Botany Special Issue on Plant Immunity. It will be free access till June 2017 and after April 2018.