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Romero, Antonio and Gabius, Hans-Joachim (2019): Galectin-3: is this member of a large family of multifunctional lectins (already) a therapeutic target? In: Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets, Vol. 23, No. 10: pp. 819-828

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Introduction: The discoveries that sugars are a highly versatile platform to generate biochemical messages and that glycan-specific receptors (lectins) are a link between these signals and their bioactivity explain the interest in endogenous lectins such as galectins. Their analysis is a highly dynamic field. It is often referred to as being promising for innovative drug design. Area covered: We present a primer to the concept of the sugar code by glycan-(ga)lectin recognition, followed by a survey on galectin-3 (considering common and distinct features within this family of multifunctional proteins expressed at various cellular sites and cell types). Finally, we discuss strategies capable of blocking (ga)lectin activity, with an eye on current challenges and inherent obstacles. Expert opinion: The emerging broad profile of homeostatic and pathophysiological bioactivities stimulates further efforts to explore galectin (Gal-3) functionality, alone and then in mixtures. Like thoroughly assessing the pros and cons of blocking approaches for a multifunctional protein active at different sites, identifying a clinical situation, in which the galectin is essential in the disease process, will be critical.

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