Shuttling of galectin-3 between the nucleus and cytoplasm

Glycobiology. 2002 May;12(5):329-37. doi: 10.1093/glycob/12.5.329.


In previous studies, we documented that galectin-3 (M(r) approximately 30,000) is a pre-mRNA splicing factor. Recently, galectin-3 was identified as a component of a nuclear and cytoplasmic complex, the survival of motor neuron complex, through its interaction with Gemin4. To test the possibility that galectin-3 may shuttle between the nucleus and the cytoplasm, human fibroblasts (LG-1) were fused with mouse fibroblasts (3T3). The monoclonal antibody NCL-GAL3, which recognizes human galectin-3 but not the mouse homolog, was used to monitor the localization of human galectin-3 in heterodikaryons. Human galectin-3 localized to both nuclei of a large percentage of heterodikaryons. Addition of the antibiotic leptomycin B, which inhibits nuclear export of galectin-3, decreased the percentage of heterodikaryons showing human galectin-3 in both nuclei. In a parallel experiment, mouse 3T3 fibroblasts, which express galectin-3, were fused with fibroblasts derived from a mouse in which the galectin-3 gene was inactivated. Mouse galectin-3 localized to both nuclei of a large percentage of heterodikaryons. Again, addition of leptomycin B restricted the presence of galectin-3 to one nucleus of a heterodikaryon. The results from both heterodikaryon assays suggest that galectin-3 can exit one nucleus, travel through the cytoplasm, and enter the second nucleus, matching the definition of shuttling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Galectin 3 / immunology
  • Galectin 3 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Protein Transport


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Galectin 3