Recent evidence has implicated galectins and their ligands as master regulators of immune cell homeostasis. Whereas some members of this family, such as galectin-3, behave as amplifiers of the inflammatory cascade, others, such as galectin-1, trigger homeostatic signals to shut off T-cell effector functions. These carbohydrate-binding proteins, identified by shared consensus amino acid sequences and affinity for β-galactoside-containing sugars, participate in the homeostasis of the inflammatory response, either by regulating cell survival and signaling, influencing cell growth and chemotaxis, interfering with cytokine secretion, mediating cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions or influencing tumor progression and metastasis. The current wealth of new information promises a future scenario in which individual members of the galectin family or their ligands will be used as powerful anti-inflammatory mediators and selective modulators of the immune response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy