Galectins are a family of animal lectins with an affinity for β-galactosides. They are differentially expressed by various tissues and appear to be functionally multivalent, exerting a wide range of biological activities both during development and in adult tissue. Galectin-7, a member of this family, contributes to different events associated with the differentiation and development of pluristratified epithelia. It is also associated with epithelial cell migration, which plays a crucial role in the re-epithelialization process of corneal or epidermal wounds. In addition, recent evidence indicates that galectin-7, designated as the product of the p53-induced gene 1 (PIG1), is a regulator of apoptosis through JNK activation and mitochondrial cytochrome c release. Defects in apoptosis constitute one of the major hallmarks of human cancers, and galectin-7 can act as either a positive or a negative regulatory factor in tumour development, depending on the histological type of the tumour.
Key words.Galectin-7 epithelium migration apoptosis carcinogenesis
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