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Lectins are a large family of proteins that occur throughout nature. Not all lectins are good; ricin is a deadly lectin isolated from castor oil plants and can be fatal. Less than 2 mg is sufficient to likely kill an adult with death occurring within 36-72 hours.

Ricin has two domains; the first allows the protein to enter a cell and the second has N-glycosidase enzymatic activity. Most lectins do not have enzymatic activity but ricin is one of those that does.

The N-glycosidase enzymatic activity produces which of the following deadly results?


Agglutinates RBCs (red blood cells) resulting in blood clots and stroke.


Cleaves nucleobases from DNA resulting in base pair mismatches and chromosomal damage.


Cleaves nucleobases from ribosomal RNA resulting in inhibition of protein synthesis and cell death.


Cleaves galactose from blood group antigens resulting in an autoimmune response that targets the bodies own blood cells.

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