Intracellular functions of galectins

Fu-Tong Liu, Ronald J. Patterson, John L. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

525 Scopus citations


Many galectin family members are detected primarily intracellularly in most of the systems studied, although certain members can be found both inside and outside of cells. Specific functions that are consistent with their intracellular localization have now been documented for some of the galectins. Galectin-1 and -3 have been identified as redundant pre-mRNA splicing factors. Galectin-3, -7, and -12 have been shown to regulate cell growth and apoptosis, being either anti-apoptotic or pro-apoptotic. Galectin-3 and -12 have been shown to regulate the cell cycle. In some cases, the mechanisms by which galectins exert their functions have been partially delineated in relation to known intracellular pathways associated with these processes. In addition, a number of intracellular proteins involved in these processes have been identified as the interacting ligands of certain galectins. This review summarizes the intracellular activities displayed by several galectins and discusses the possible underlying mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-273
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Sep 19 2002


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Cell growth
  • Galectin
  • Galectin-interacting protein
  • RNA splicing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


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