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The Xenopus laevis cortical granule lectin: cDNA cloning, developmental expression, and identification of the eglectin family of lectins.

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  • 1Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


A Xenopus laevis egg cortical granule, calcium-dependent, galactosyl-specific lectin participates in forming the fertilization layer of the egg envelope and functions in establishing a block to polyspermy. We report the cDNA cloning of the lectin, expression of the cortical granule lectin gene during oogenesis and early development, and identification of a new family of lectins. The translated cDNA for the cortical granule lectin had a signal peptide, a structural sequence of 298 amino acids, a molecular weight of 32.7 K, contained consensus sequence sites for N-glycosylation and a fibrinogen domain. The lectin cDNA was expressed during early stages of oogenesis. Lectin glycoprotein levels were constant during development with 2/3 of the lectin associated with the extracellular perivitelline space and the egg/embryo fertilization envelope. Lectin mRNA levels were from 100- to 1000-fold greater in ovary than in other adult tissues. The lectin had no sequence homology to the previously identified lectin families. The lectin had 41-88% amino acid identity with nine translated cDNA sequences from an ascidian, lamprey, frog, mouse, and human. Based on the conserved carbohydrate binding and structural properties of these glycoproteins, we propose a new family of lectins, the eglectin family.

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