© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Lectins are a diverse class of proteins distributed extensively in nature. Among these proteins; legume lectins display a variety of interesting features including antimicrobial; insecticidal and antitumor activities. Because lectins recognize and bind to specific glycoconjugates present on the surface of cells and intracellular structures; they can serve as potential target molecules for developing practical applications in the fields of food; agriculture; health and pharmaceutical research. This review presents the current knowledge of the main structural characteristics of legume lectins and the relationship of structure to the exhibited specificities; provides an overview of their particular antimicrobial; insecticidal and antitumor biological activities and describes possible applications based on the pattern of recognized glyco-targets.