A beta-galactoside-specific soluble 14-kD lectin from sheep brain was isolated, sequenced, and compared with similar galectins from other species. Percent identities of amino acid sequence and the carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) revealed that the isolated galectin shares all the absolutely preserved and critical residues of the mammalian galectin-1 subfamily. The isolated sheep brain galectin (SBG) showed more than 90% amino acid sequence (92%) and carbohydrate recognition domain identity (96%) with human brain galectin-1. Conformational changes were found induced by interaction of the protein with its specific disaccharide and oxidizing agent (hydrogen peroxide). Upon oxidation a drastic change in the environment of aromatic residues and conformation of the galectin was observed with the loss of hemagglutination activity, while no significant change was observed upon addition of D-lactose (Gal(beta1-4)Glc) in the far-UV and near-UV spectra, suggesting no significant modification in the secondary as well as tertiary structures of sheep brain galectin. But the functional integrity of the CRD is found to be affected in the presence of oxidizing agent, indicating intramolecular disulfide bonds and requirement of complete polypeptide chain for functional integrity of the carbohydrate recognition domain.