A Wiki about biochemical individuality


See Also

German immunologist and aphorist.

Born 1929.

Professor Dr. med. Gerhard Uhlenbruck completed training in immunbiology in London and Cambridge after medical study and was a department manager at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Cologne. He is currently a director of the Institute for Immunbiology at the University of Cologne.


  • "Men divided the atom first, but now the atom divides men."
  • "Although most humans do, what they want, want the few that they do."
  • "No Body is perfect."
  • "Never chase a lie. Let it alone, and it will run itself to death."


Professor Uhlenbruck established the chemical structure of the T antigen in 1969 at the University of Cologne. Like many pioneers he entered the field of lectin research by chance:

"The reason why I have begun to study lectins in 1960 was an economical one: there were no means and money, no personnel and possibilities to work with animals.Accordingly I became the first professor of immunobiology in the the world, who never immunized an animal. However, plants were easily available, for instance peanuts, and so we analyzed our red cell glycoprotiens, first described in 1958 by us, with various plant lectins. One result was the structure of the peanut agglutinin receptor." (1)

In recent years has developed an interest in complementary medicine (2)


Importance of lectins for the prevention of bacterial infections and cancer metastases

Glycoconj J. 1995 Feb;12(1):1-6. Beuth J, Ko HL, Pulverer G, Uhlenbruck G, Pichlmaier H.

  • Adhesion of bacteria and of metastasizing tumour cells have much in common, especially the participation of lectins in this process. In the future it might be possible to inhibit the metastatic process and bacterial adhesion by blocking with lectins specific for appropriate (oligo) saccharides or glycoconjugates. Initial clinical trials are very promising.


The Thomsen-Friedenreich (TF) receptor: an old history with new mystery

Immunol Commun. 1981;10(3):251-64. Uhlenbruck G.

  • The Thomsen-Friedenreich (TF) receptor represents the cryptic precursor structure of the human MN blood group system. Blood group antigens, however, are no longer regarded to be restricted to red cells because most of them are carbohydrate markers. Therefore, these anti-blood group antibodies, especially blood group specific lectins, can be widely used to detect different carbohydrate units of numerous glycoconjugates in several organs. Blood group antigens of carbohydrate character and their precursors seem to be important signals during malignant transformation of normal cells, as they can be altered in different ways within the architecture of the cancer cell membrane. In this connection, the significance of the TF receptor is presented, as well as its position among other and different anti-galactose specific reagents (in the broadest sense) from various sources. The biological role of these lectins and lectin analogues is discussed and a purification method is recommended.


1. Sharon, N. Lis, Halina, Lectins, 2nd Edition. pp 15-16. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

2. Uhlenbruck G, Golz R. [Characteristics of green tea - A review]. Z Onkol. 1998;30(3):57-63. (Ger).