The Reg family constitutes a subset of the calcium-dependent C-type lectin superfamily. These small, secreted proteins have been implicated in a range of physiological processes including acting as acute phase reactants, lectins, survival/growth factors for insulin-producing pancreatic beta-cells, neural cells, and epithelial cells of the digestive system. Studies also indicate a role for Reg family members in tumor formation and indicate their potential for use as biomarkers of carcinogenesis.
The type III subclass of the Reg family includes Reg 2. Rat Reg 2 has anti-apoptotic effects on pancreatic acinar cells and is a novel motor and sensory neuron survival factor.