Calcium-dependent lectin activity with novel distribution on thymocyte subsets

S Mallett, S D Rosen, W Hyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we use carbohydrate probes to search for novel cell surface lectins in the immune system. Many carbohydrate binding proteins are members of the C-type lectin superfamily, whose ligand binding is dependent on calcium. To identify potential new members of this superfamily, fluorescein-conjugated carbohydrate polymers were used to probe for calcium-dependent cell surface binding. This approach offers advantages over the use of monoclonal antibody probes since only carbohydrate binding proteins would be identified. We have identified a cell surface lectin, referred to as thy-lec, detected by the probe fucoidan-fuorescein isothiocyanate. This calcium-dependent lectin has a novel distribution on thymocyte subsets. It is present on the surface of immature CD4+8+ and on large, cycling CD4-8- cells and CD8+4- cells, but not on small, mature phenotype CD8+4- or CD4+8- thymocytes. This lectin is not found on mature T cells or other leukocytes in lymph nodes, spleen or bone marrow. It is proposed that this novel cell surface has a function in the maturation of T cells in the thymus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1996


  • Animals
  • Calcium
  • Carbohydrates
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Epitopes
  • L-Selectin
  • Lectins
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets
  • Thymus Gland


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