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Kidney Int Suppl. 2000 Sep;77:S31-9.

Role of galectin-3 as a receptor for advanced glycosylation end products.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.


The advanced glycosylation end product (AGE)-binding proteins identified so far include the components of the AGE-receptor complex p60, p90 and galectin-3, receptor for advanced glycosylation end products (RAGE), and the macrophage scavenger receptor types I and II. Galectin-3 interacts with beta-galactoside residues of several cell surface and matrix glycoproteins through the carbohydrate recognition domain and is also capable of peptide-peptide associations mediated by its N-terminus domain. These structural properties enable galectin-3 to exert multiple functions, including the modulation of cell adhesion, the control of cell cycle, and the mRNA splicing activity. Moreover, in macrophages, astrocytes, and endothelial cells, galectin-3 has been shown to exhibit a high-affinity binding for AGEs; the lack of a transmembrane anchor sequence or signal peptide suggests that it associates with other AGE-receptor components rather than playing an independent role as AGE-receptor. In tissues that are targets of diabetic vascular complications, such as the mesangium and the endothelium, galectin-3 is not expressed or only weakly expressed under basal conditions, at variance with p90 and p60 but becomes detectable with aging and is induced or up-regulated by the diabetic milieu, which only slightly affects the expression of p90 or p60. This (over)expression of galectin-3 may in turn modulate AGE-receptor-mediated events by modifying the function of the AGE-receptor complex, which could play a role in the pathogenesis of target tissue injury. Up-regulated galectin-3 expression may also exert direct effects on tissue remodeling, independently of AGE ligands, by virtue of its adhesive and growth regulating properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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