Emerging role of α2,6-sialic acid as a negative regulator of galectin binding and function

Academic Article


  • Galectins are β-galactoside-binding lectins that regulate diverse cell behaviors, including adhesion, migration, proliferation, and apoptosis. Galectins can be expressed both intracellularly and extracellularly, and extracellular galectins mediate their effects by associating with cell-surface oligosaccharides. Despite intensive current interest in galectins, strikingly few studies have focused on a key enzyme that acts to inhibit galectin signaling, namely β-galactoside α2,6-sialyltransferase (ST6Gal-I). ST6Gal-I adds an α2,6-linked sialic acid to the terminal galactose of N-linked glycans, and this modification blocks galectin binding to β-galactosides. This minireview summarizes the evidence suggesting that ST6Gal-I activity serves as an "off switch" for galectin function. © 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 21199831
  • Author List

  • Zhuo Y; Bellis SL
  • Start Page

  • 5935
  • End Page

  • 5941
  • Volume

  • 286
  • Issue

  • 8