Endogenous galectin-3 is localized in membrane lipid rafts and regulates migration of dendritic cells

J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Mar;129(3):573-83. doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.276. Epub 2008 Oct 9.


This study reveals a function of endogenous galectin-3, an animal lectin recognizing beta-galactosides, in regulating dendritic cell motility both in vitro and in vivo, which to our knowledge is unreported. First, galectin-3-deficient (gal3(-/-)) bone marrow-derived dendritic cells exhibited defective chemotaxis compared to gal3(+/+) cells. Second, cutaneous dendritic cells in gal3(-/-) mice displayed reduced migration to draining lymph nodes upon hapten stimulation compared to gal3(+/+) mice. Moreover, gal3(-/-) mice were impaired in the development of contact hypersensitivity relative to gal3(+/+) mice in response to a hapten, a process in which dendritic cell trafficking to lymph nodes is critical. In addition, defective signaling was detected in gal3(-/-) cells upon chemokine receptor activation. By immunofluorescence microscopy, we observed that galectin-3 is localized in membrane ruffles and lamellipodia in stimulated dendritic cells and macrophages. Furthermore, galectin-3 was enriched in lipid raft domains under these conditions. Finally, we determined that ruffles on gal3(-/-) cells contained structures with lower complexity compared to gal3(+/+) cells. In view of the participation of membrane ruffles in signal transduction and cell motility, we conclude that galectin-3 regulates cell migration by functioning at these structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Chemotaxis
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Galectin 3 / biosynthesis*
  • Galectin 3 / chemistry
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Membrane Microdomains / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Biological
  • Signal Transduction


  • Chemokines
  • Galectin 3