Galectins is a family of multifunctional lectins. Fifteen galectins have been identified from a variety of cells and tissues of vertebrates and invertebrates. Galectins have been shown to play pivotal roles in host–pathogen interaction such as adhesion of pathogens to host cells and activation of host innate and adaptive immunity. In recent years, the roles of galectins during parasite infections have gained increasing attention. Galectins produced by different hosts can act as pattern recognition receptors detecting conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns of parasites, while galectins produced by parasites can modulate host responses. This review summarizes some recent studies on the roles of galectins produced by parasitic protozoa, nematodes, and trematodes and their hosts. Understanding the roles of galectins in host–parasite interactions may provide targets for immune intervention and therapies of parasitic infections.
Weikun Shi, Chunyu Xue, Xin-zhuan Su, Fangli Lu, Acta Tropica, Volume 177, January 2018, Pages 97-104