These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Academic Editor: Tzi Bun NG
Received: 17 November 2014 / Accepted: 22 January 2015 / Published: 30 January 2015
Abstract: Sambucus (Adoxaceae) species have been used for both food and medicine purposes. Among these, Sambucus nigra L. (black elder), Sambucus ebulus L. (dwarf elder), and Sambucus sieboldiana L. are the most relevant species studied. Their use has been somewhat restricted due to the presence of bioactive proteins or/and low molecular weight compounds whose ingestion could trigger deleterious effects. Over the last few years, the chemical and pharmacological characteristics of Sambucus species have been investigated. Among the proteins present in Sambucus species both type 1, and type 2 ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs), and hololectins have been reported. The biological role played by these proteins remains unknown, although they are conjectured to be involved in defending plants against insect predators and viruses. These proteins might have an important impact on the nutritional characteristics and food safety of elderberries. Type 2 RIPs are able to interact with gut cells of insects and mammals triggering a number of specific and mostly unknown cell signals in the gut mucosa that could significantly affect animal physiology. In this paper, we describe all known RIPs that have been isolated to date from Sambucus species, and comment on their antiviral and entomotoxic effects, as well as their potential uses.
Keywords:Sambucus ebulus L.; Sambucus nigra L.; ebulin; nigrin; immunotoxins; nigrin b model
Molecules 2015, 20(2), 2364-2387; doi:10.3390/molecules20022364