Beta-galactoside-binding lectins were isolated from various calf tissues and from chicken hearts by affinity chromatography on asialofetuin-Sepharose, and were compared with respect to biochemical characteristics, binding properties, antigenic cross-reactivity, and cellular localization. The lectins are all thiol group-requiring, divalent cation-independent dimers, of apparent monomer mol wt 12,000 (calf lectins) or 13,000 (chicken lectin), and acidic pI. The calf lectins appear essentially identical by dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, isoelectric focusing, amino acid composition, and radioimmunoassay, while the chicken lectin is distinctly different by these criteria. However, all of the lectins competed for the same binding sites on rabbit erythrocytes, and could be inhibited by the same saccharide haptens (notably lactose and thiodigalactoside). Immuno-fluorescence studies on several cultured cell lines revealed that the bovine and chicken lectins had primarily an intracellular cytoplasmic localization. The beta-galactoside-binding lectins of vertebrates appear to be species-specific rather than tissue-specific.

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