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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Sep 19;1572(2-3):263-73.

Intracellular functions of galectins.

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Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, 4860 Y Street, Suite 3400, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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