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A β-galactoside binding lectin, designated as galectin-2, was identified and characterized from rock bream Oplegnathus fasciatus (OfGal-2). The cDNA of OfGal-2 comprised of 692 bp with a coding sequence of 396 bp, encoding a putative polypeptide of 131 amino acids. Gene structure analysis of OfGal-2 revealed a four exon-three intron organization. A single carbohydrate-binding domain containing all seven important residues for carbohydrate binding was located in the third exon, which formed a carbohydrate-binding pocket. Homology screening and sequence analysis demonstrated that OfGal-2 is an evolutionarily conserved proto-type galectin. OfGal-2 transcripts were detected in several healthy fish tissues, with the highest level observed in the intestine, followed by the liver. The expression of OfGal-2 was elevated upon the injection of various mitogenic stimulants and pathogens in a time-dependent manner. Upregulated expression in the liver after tissue injury suggested its role as a damage-associated molecular pattern. Recombinant OfGal-2 protein had hemagglutinating potential and possessed affinity towards lactose and galactose. Moreover, the recombinant protein agglutinated and bound potential pathogenic bacteria and a ciliate. The results of this study indicate that the galectin-2 from rock bream has a potential role in immunity, particularly in the recognition of invading pathogens.Rock bream galectin-2 (OfGal-2), is a member of proto type galectin.Genomic structure of OfGal-2 comprised of four exons and three introns.OfGal-2 was predominantly expressed in intestine.OfGal-2 transcripts were significantly induced upon bacterial and viral infection in immune tissues.Recombinant OfGal-2 possessed the ability to recognize bacteria and ciliate parasite.