Selective expression of an endogenous lactose-binding lectin gene in subsets of central and peripheral neurons.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, Volume 10, Issue 3, p.1004-13 (1990)


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Central Nervous System, DNA, Galectin 4, gene expression, Hemagglutinins, Lectins, Molecular Sequence Data, Motor Neurons, NEURONS, Neurons, Afferent, Peripheral Nerves, TISSUE DISTRIBUTION


Cellular interactions in a variety of vertebrate non-neural tissues are thought to be mediated by cell surface carbohydrate structures. The detection of cell-specific surface carbohydrates and carbohydrate-binding proteins within the embryonic nervous system has raised the possibility that carbohydrate recognition may also contribute to the interactions of developing neurons. Soluble lactose-binding lectins constitute one class of carbohydrate-binding proteins expressed in the vertebrate nervous system. We describe here the isolation of cDNAs from rat brain libraries encoding one of these lectins, RL-14.5, and demonstrate that this protein is not only homologous to other soluble lectins, but also identical in primary sequence to a lectin present in at least one non-neural tissue. RNA blot analysis and in situ hybridization reveal a restricted pattern of expression of RL-14.5 mRNA within the rat nervous system. High levels of RL-14.5 mRNA are present in primary sensory neurons and motoneurons in the spinal cord and brain stem. Moreover, expression of RL-14.5 mRNA in sensory and motoneurons is detectable soon after neuronal differentiation. These findings, together with previous studies demonstrating the selective expression of oligosaccharide ligands for RL-14.5 on the same neurons, are consistent with the idea that carbohydrate-mediated interactions contribute to the development of this subset of mammalian neurons.