, Volume 130, Issue 3, pp 567-581
Date: 03 Jul 2008

Cell-type-specific expression of murine multifunctional galectin-3 and its association with follicular atresia/luteolysis in contrast to pro-apoptotic galectins-1 and -7

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Galectin-3 is a multifunctional protein with modular design. A distinct expression profile was determined in various murine organs when set into relation to homodimeric galectins-1 and -7. Fittingly, the signature of putative transcription-factor-binding sites in the promoter region of the galectin-3 gene affords a toolbox for a complex combinatorial regulation, distinct from the respective sequence stretches in galectins-1 and -7. A striking example for cell-type specificity was the ovary, where these two lectins were confined to the surface epithelium. Immunohistochemically, galectin-3 was found in macrophages of the cortical interstitium between developing follicles and medullary interstitium, matching the distribution of the F4/80 antigen. With respect to atresia and luteolysis strong signals in granulosa cells of atretic preantral but not antral follicles and increasing positivity in corpora lutea upon regression coincided with DNA fragmentation. Labeled galectin-3 revealed lactose-inhibitable binding to granulosa cells. Also, slender processes of vital granulosa cells which extended into the zona pellucida were positive. This study demonstrates cell-type specificity and cycle-associated regulation for galectin-3 with increased presence in atretic preantral follicles and in late stages of luteolysis.