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Glycobiology March 1, 2005; 15 (3): 281-90.

Isolation, characterization, and extra-embryonic secretion of the Xenopus laevis embryonic epidermal lectin, XEEL.

The Xenopus laevis embryonic epidermal lectin (XEEL) is a novel member of a group of lectins including mammalian intelectins, frog oocyte cortical granule lectins, and plasma lectins in lower vertebrates and ascidians. We isolated the XEEL protein from the extract of tailbud embryos by affinity chromatography on a galactose-Sepharose column. The XEEL protein is a homohexamer of 43-kDa N-glycosylated peptide subunits linked by disulfide bonds. It requires Ca(2+) for saccharide binding and shows a higher affinity to pentoses than hexoses and disaccharides. HEK-293T cells transfected with an expression vector containing the XEEL cDNA secrete into the culture medium the recombinant XEEL (rXEEL) that is similar to the purified XEEL in its molecular nature and saccharide-binding properties. Substitution of Asn-192 to Gln removed the N-linked carbohydrate and inhibited secretion of rXEEL but did not abolish the activity to bind to galactose-Sepharose. The embryo''s XEEL content, as estimated by western blot analyses, increases during neurula/tailbud stages and declines after 1 week postfertilization. Immunofluorescence and immuno-electron microscopic analyses showed localization of the XEEL protein in a typical secretory granule pathway of nonciliated epidermal cells. When tailbud embryos were cultured in the standard medium, XEEL was accumulated in the medium, indicating secretion of XEEL into the environmental water. The rate of XEEL secretion greatly increased at around the hatching stage and stayed at a high level during the first week after hatching. XEEL may have a role in innate immunity to protect embryos and larvae against pathogenic microorganisms in the environmental water.

PubMed ID: 15537792
Article link: Glycobiology

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: itln1 itln2
Antibodies: Itln2 Ab1

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