The antiviral role of galectins toward influenza a virus infection—an alternative strategy for influenza therapy

Chih Yen Lin, Zih Syuan Yang, Wen Hung Wang, Aspiro Nayim Urbina, Yu Ting Lin, Jason C. Huang, Fu Tong Liu, Sheng Fan Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Animal lectins are proteins with carbohydrate recognition activity. Galectins, the βgalactoside binding lectins, are expressed in various cells and have been reported to regulate several immunological and physiological responses. Recently, some galectins have been reported to regulate some viral infections, including influenza A virus (IAV); however, the mechanism is still not fully understood. Thus, we aim to review systemically the roles of galectins in their antiviral functions against IAVs. The PRISMA guidelines were used to select the eligible articles. Results indicated that only Galectin-1, Galectin-3, and Galectin-9 were reported to play a regulatory role in IAV infection. These regulatory effects occur extracellularly, through their carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) interacting with glycans expressed on the virus surface, as well as endogenously, in a cell–cell interaction manner. The inhibition effects induced by galectins on IAV infection were through blocking virus–host receptors interaction, activation of NLRP-3 inflammasome, augment expression of antiviral genes and related cytokines, as well as stimulation of Tim-3 related signaling to enhance virus-specific T cells and humoral immune response. Combined, this study concludes that currently, only three galectins have reported antiviral capabilities against IAV infection, thereby having the potential to be applied as an alternative anti-influenza therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number490
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Anti-influenza
  • Carbohydrate recognition domain
  • Galectins
  • Influenza A virus
  • Review


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