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J Biol Chem. 2001 Sep 7;276(36):34089-97. Epub 2001 Jul 2.

Galectin-12, an Adipose-expressed Galectin-like Molecule Possessing Apoptosis-inducing Activity.

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Department of Internal Medicine and Molecular Science, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Galectins constitute a family of proteins that bind to beta-galactoside residues and have diverse physiological functions. Here we report on the identification of a galectin-like molecule, galectin-12, in a human adipose tissue cDNA library. The protein contained two potential carbohydrate-recognition domains with the second carbohydrate-recognition domain being less conserved compared with other galectins. In vitro translated galectin-12 bound to a lactosyl-agarose column far less efficiently than galectin-8. Galectin-12 mRNA was predominantly expressed in adipose tissue of human and mouse and in differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Caloric restriction and treatment of obese animals with troglitazone increased galectin-12 mRNA levels and decreased the average size of the cells in adipose tissue. The induction of galectin-12 expression by the thiazolidinedione, troglitazone, was paralleled by an increase in the number of apoptotic cells in adipose tissue. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that galectin-12 was localized in the nucleus of adipocytes, and transfection with galectin-12 cDNA induced apoptosis of COS-1 cells. These results suggest that galectin-12, an adipose-expressed galectin-like molecule, may participate in the apoptosis of adipocytes.

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