Chicken GRIFIN: binding partners, developmental course of localization and activation of its lens-specific gene expression by L-Maf/Pax6.


Department of Applied Tumor Biology, Institute of Pathology, Medical School of the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 224, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany. [Email]


Tissue lectins appear to be involved in a broad range of physiological processes, as reflected for the members of the family of galectins by referring to them as adhesion/growth-regulatory effectors. In order to clarify the significance of galectin presence, key challenges are to define their binding partners and the profile of localization. Having identified the chicken galectin-related interfiber protein (C-GRIFIN) as lens-specific protein present in the main body of adult lens, we here report its interaction with lens proteins in ligand blotting. The assumption for pairing with α-, β- and δ-crystallins was ascertained by mass spectrometric detection of their presence in eluted fractions obtained by affinity chromatography. Biochemical and immunohistochemical monitoring revealed protein presence from about 3-day-old embryos onwards, mostly in the cytoplasm of elongated posterior cells, later in secondary lens fiber cells. On the level of gene expression, its promoter was activated by transcription factor L-Maf alone and together with Pax6 like a crystallin gene, substantiating C-GRIFIN's status as lens-specific galectin. Using this combined strategy for counterreceptor and expression profiling by bio- and histochemical methods including light, electron and fluorescence microscopy, respective monitoring in lens development can now be taken to the level of the complete galectin family.