Analysis of the Intracellular Role of Galectins in Cell Growth and Apoptosis
Galectins are a family of animal lectins with conserved carbohydrate-recognition domains that recognize β-galactosides. Despite structural similarities, these proteins have diverse functions in a variety of cellular processes. While a large number of extracellular functions have been demonstrated for galectins, the existence of intracellular functions has been clearly shown for a number of galectins, including regulation of cell growth and apoptosis; these latter functions may not involve glycan binding. There is considerable interest in intracellular regulation by galectins of cell growth and apoptosis, as these are fundamental cellular processes in normal homeostasis. Their dysregulation can cause pathologies such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, and neural degenerative diseases. Here we describe methods that we routinely perform in the laboratory to investigate the role of galectins in cell growth and apoptosis. These include methods for cell isolation, cell maintenance, and genetic manipulations to perturb galectin gene expression, as well as assays for cell growth and apoptosis.
Key wordsGalectin Intracellular regulation Cell growth Apoptosis
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