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Biochemistry. 2006 Aug 1;45(30):9188-97.

Intelectin: a novel lipid raft-associated protein in the enterocyte brush border.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Genetics, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.


Intelectin is a mammalian Ca2+-dependent, D-galactosyl-specific lectin expressed in Paneth and goblet cells of the small intestine and proposed to serve a protective role in the innate immune response to parasite infection. In addition, it is structurally identical to the intestinal lactoferrin receptor known to reside in the enterocyte brush border. To clarify this apparent discrepancy with regard to localization, the aim of this work was to study the cellular and subcellular distribution of small intestinal intelectin by immunofluorescence and immunogold electron microscopy. Secretory granules of lysozyme-positive Paneth cells in the bottom of the crypts as well as goblet cells along the crypt-villus axis were intensively labeled with intelectin antibodies, but quantitatively, the major site of intelectin deposition was the enterocyte brush border. This membrane is organized in stable glycolipid-based lipid raft microdomains, and like the divalent lectin galectin-4, intelectin was enriched in microvillar "superrafts", i.e., membranes that resist solubilization with Triton X-100 at 37 degrees C. This strategic localization suggests that the trimeric intelectin, like galectin-4, serves as an organizer and stabilizer of the brush border membrane, preventing loss of digestive enzymes to the gut lumen and protecting the glycolipid microdomains from pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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