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    Gonen Lab
    01/01/00 | Galectin-3 is associated with the plasma membrane of lens fiber cells.
    Gonen T, Donaldson P, Kistler J
    Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2000 Jan;41(1):199-203

    PURPOSE: To discover proteins that have the potential to contribute to the tight packing of fiber cells in the lens.

    METHODS: Crude fiber cell membranes were isolated from ovine lens cortex. Proteins were separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, and selected protein spots identified by micro-sequencing. The identification of galectin-3 was confirmed by immunoblotting with a specific antibody. The association of galectin-3 with the fiber cell plasma membrane was investigated using immunofluorescence microscopy, solubilization trials with selected reagents, and immunoprecipitation to identify candidate ligands.

    RESULTS: A cluster of three protein spots with an apparent molecular weight of 31,000 and isoelectric points ranging between 7 and 8.5 were resolved and identified as galectin-3. This protein was associated peripherally with the fiber cell plasma membrane and interacted with MP20, an abundant intrinsic membrane protein that had been identified previously as a component of membrane junctions between fiber cells.

    CONCLUSIONS: The detection of galectin-3 in the lens is a novel result and adds to the growing list of lens proteins with adhesive properties. Its location at the fiber cell membrane and its association with the junction-forming MP20 is consistent with a potential role in the development or maintenance of the tightly packed lens tissue architecture.

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