Analysis of selected blood and immune cell responses to carbohydrate-dependent surface binding of proto- and chimera-type galectins

Alexander V. Timoshenko, Irina V. Gorudko, Olga V. Maslakova, Sabine André, Ichiro Kuwabara, Fu-Tong Liu, Herbert Kaltner, Hans Joachim Gabius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Cell surface glycans present docking sites to endogenous lectins. With growing insight into the diversity of lectin families it becomes important to answer the question on the activity profiles of individual family members. Focusing on galectins (β-galactoside-binding proteins without Ca2+-requirement sharing the jelly-roll-like folding pattern), this study was performed to assess the potency of proto-type galectins (galectins-1 and -7 and CG-16) and the chimera-type galectin-3 to elicit selected cell responses by carbohydrate-dependent surface binding and compare the results. The galectins, except for galectin-1, were found to enhance detergent (SDS)-induced hemolysis of human erythrocytes to different degrees. Their ability to confer increased membrane osmofragility thus differs. Aggregation of neutrophils, thymocytes and platelets was induced by the proto-type galectin-1 but not -7, by CG-16 and also galectin-3. Cell-type-specific quantitative differences and the importance of the fine-specificity of the galectin were clearly apparent. In order to detect cellular responses based on galectin binding and bridging of cells the formation of haptenic-sugar-resistant (HSR) intercellular contacts (an indicator of post-binding signaling) was monitored. It was elicited by CG-16 and galectin-1 but not galectin-3, revealing another level at which activities of individual galectins can differ. Acting as potent elicitor of neutrophil aggregation, CG-16-dependent post-binding effects were further analyzed. Carbohydrate-dependent binding to the neutrophils' surface led to a sustained increase of cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration in a dose-dependent manner. The ability of CG-16 to activate H2O2 generation by human peripheral blood neutrophils was primed by the Ca2+-ionophor ionomycin and by cytochalasin B. In a general context, these results emphasize that - besides plant lectins as laboratory tools - animal lectins can trigger cell reaction cascades, implying potential in vivo relevance for the measured activities. Within the family of galectins, the activity profiles depend on the target cell type and the individual galectin. Notably, proto-type galectins do not necessarily share a uniform capacity as elicitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-149
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Ca-level
  • Cell aggregation
  • Galectin
  • Hemolysis
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lectin
  • Signalling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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