Galectin-4 (Gal-4) is a β-galactoside-binding protein mostly expressed in the gastrointestinal tract of animals. Although intensive functional studies have been done for other galectin isoforms, the immunoregulatory function of Gal-4 still remains ambiguous. Here, we demonstrated that Gal-4 could bind to CD14 on monocytes and induce their differentiation into macrophage-like cells through the MAPK signaling pathway. Gal-4 induced the phenotypic changes on monocytes by altering the expression of various surface molecules, and induced functional changes such as increased cytokine production and matrix metalloproteinase expression and reduced phagocytic capacity. Concomitant with these changes, Gal-4-treated monocytes became adherent and showed elongated morphology with higher expression of macrophage markers. Notably, we found that Gal-4 interacted with CD14 and activated the MAPK signaling cascade. Therefore, these findings suggest that Gal-4 may exert the immunoregulatory functions through the activation and differentiation of monocytes.
- Cell differentiation
- LPS receptor
- Mitogen-activated-protein kinases