Galaptins are small, soluble, lectins with a specificity for beta-galactose residues. Many galaptins are inactivated by atmospheric oxygen and are protected by disulphide-reducing reagents. We find that each subunit of rat lung galaptin contains one residue of tryptophan and six of cysteine. Oxygen inactivates rat lung galaptin by oxidation of the cysteine residues. During oxidation, the normal dimeric structure is maintained and all disulphide bonds are formed within individual subunits. Exogenous thiols protect against inactivation, but oxidized thiols accelerate inactivation. Human lung fibroblast galaptin is almost completely inactivated within 1 h in tissue culture medium at 37 degrees C. Alkylation of native rat lung galaptin with iodoacetate or ethyleneimine causes substantial loss of activity. The dimeric galaptin structure is maintained. In contrast, alkylation with iodoacetamide yields carboxamidomethyl-galaptin, which is fully active and stable to atmospheric oxygen in the absence of disulphide-reducing reagents. This derivative is very useful for studies of galaptin properties and function.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.