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Glycoconj J. 2002;19(7-9):467-77.

Galectin-1: a bifunctional regulator of cellular proliferation.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


Galectin-1 has demonstrated a diverse range of activities in relation to cell survival and proliferation. In different circumstances, it acts as a mitogen, as an inhibitor of cell proliferation, and as a promoter of cellular apoptosis. Many of these activities, particularly the mitogenic and apoptotic responses, follow from the interaction of galectin-1 with cell-surface beta-galactoside ligands, but there is increasing evidence for protein-protein interactions involving galectin-1, and for a beta-galactoside-independent cytostatic mechanism. The bifunctional nature of galectin-1, in conjunction with other experimental variables, makes it difficult to assess the overall outcomes and significance of the growth-regulatory actions in many previous investigations. There is thus a need for well-defined experimental cross-correlation of observations, for which specific loss-of-function galectin-1 mutants will be invaluable. Unsurprisingly, in view of this background, the interpretation of the actions of galectin-1 in developmental situations, both normal and neoplastic, is often very complex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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