Identification and characterization of galectin-9, a novel β- galactoside-binding mammalian lectin

Jun Wada, Yashpal S. Kanwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

295 Citations (Scopus)


A 36-kDa β-galactoside mammalian lectin protein, designated as galectin-9, was isolated from mouse embryonic kidney by using a degenerate primer polymerase chain reaction and cloning strategy. Its deduced amino acid sequence had the characteristic conserved sequence motif of galectins. Endogenous galectin-9, extracted from liver and thymus, as well as recombinant galectin-9 exhibited specific binding activity for the lactosyl group. It had two distinct N- and C-terminal carbohydrate-binding domains connected by a link peptide, with no homology to any other protein. Galectin- 9 had an alternate splicing isoform, exclusively expressed in the small intestine with a 31-amino acid insertion between the N-terminal domain and link peptide. Sequence homology analysis revealed that the C-terminal carbohydrate-binding domain of mouse galectin-9 had extensive similarity to that of monomeric rat galectin-5. The presence of galectin-5 in the mouse could not be demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction or by Northern or Southern blot genomic DNA analyses. Sequence comparison of rat galectin-5 and rat galectin-9 cDNA did not reveal identical nucleotide sequences in the overlapping C-terminal carbohydrate-binding domain, indicating that galectin- 9 is not an alternative splicing isoform of galectin-5. However, galectin-9 had a sequence identical with that of its intestinal isoform in the overlapping regions in both species. Southern blot genomic DNA analyses, using the galectin-9 specific probe derived from the N-terminal carbohydrate- binding domain, indicated the presence of a novel gene encoding galectin-9 in both mice and rats. In contrast to galectin-5, which is mainly expressed in erythrocytes, galectin-9 was found to be widely distributed, i.e. in liver, small intestine, thymus > kidney, spleen, lung, cardiac and skeletal muscle > reticulocyte, brain. Collectively, these data indicate that galectin-9 is a new member of the galectin gene family and has a unique intestinal isoform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6078-6086
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Feb 28 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification and characterization of galectin-9, a novel β- galactoside-binding mammalian lectin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this