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1.  Galectin Hco-gal-m from Haemonchus contortus modulates goat monocytes and T cell function in different patterns 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7(1):342.
Monocytes and T cells are two major subpopulations of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and play an essential role in the innate and adaptive immune systems. Different members of the galectin family show multiple and distinct regulatory effects on different cell types. Previous studies have demonstrated that the galectin from Haemonchus contortus (Hco-gal-m) performed immunomodulatory effects on goat PBMC, however, which subpopulation of PBMC is the primary target of Hco-gal-m and whether the immune modulations share the same mechanism remain unclear.
In this study, the developmental expression of Hco-gal-m was analyzed by RT-PCR and Western blot analysis. The distribution of Hco-gal-m in adult worm was detected by an immunohistochemical test. The binding activity of the recombinant Hco-gal-m (rHco-gal-m) on goat monocytes and T cells were assessed by flow cytometry. The immunomodulatory effects of Hco-gal-m on cytokine secretion, cell activation and apoptosis were observed by co-incubation of rHco-gal-m with goat monocytes and T cells.
Hco-gal-m was expressed in L4 as well as adult worms and predominantly localized at the internal surface of the worm guts. rHco-gal-m could bind to both monocytes and T cells. The engagement of rHco-gal-m decreased the production of IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-α in T cells, however, it significantly increased the secretion of IL-10 in monocytes. After rHco-gal-m exposure, the expression of MHC-II on monocytes and that of CD25 on T cells were restricted. Consequently, T cell proliferations were potently inhibited by rHco-gal-m. In addition, rHco-gal-m induced apoptosis in T cells, but not significantly in monocytes.
Our results indicated that rHco-gal-m modulated goat monocytes and T cell function in different patterns.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1756-3305-7-342) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4117971  PMID: 25056558
Haemonchus contortus; Galectin; PBMC; Monocytes; T cells
2.  Differential Expression of Galectin-1 and its Interactions with Cells and Laminins in the Intervertebral Disc 
Galectin-1 (Gal-1), an endogenous β-galactoside-binding protein, binds to laminins, which are highly expressed in the nucleus pulposus (NP) of the intervertebral disc (IVD). The objective of this study is to evaluate the expression of Gal-1 protein in IVD tissues during aging and the effect of Gal-1 on IVD cell adhesion to laminins. Tissues from rat, porcine and human (scoliosis or disc degeneration) IVDs were used to evaluate Gal-1 expression via immunostaining, RT-PCR and Western Blot analysis. Attachment of isolated IVD cells (porcine and human) on select laminin isoforms (LM-111 and LM-511) was compared with/without pre-incubation with exogenous Gal-1. A biotinylated Gal-1(B-Gal-1) was used to evaluate for binding to IVD cells and to select for IVD cells by magnetic activated cell sorting (MACS). NP cells expressed high levels of Gal-1 protein as compared to anulus fibrosus (AF) cells in immature tissues, while exogenous Gal-1 increased both NP and AF cell attachment to laminins and exhibited a similar binding to both cell types in vitro. With aging, Gal-1 levels in NP tissue appeared to decrease. In addition, incubation with B-Gal-1 was able to promote the retention of more than 50% of IVD cells via MACS. Our results provide new findings for the presence and functional role of Gal-1 within IVDs. Similar staining patterns for Gal-1 and LM-511 in IVD tissue suggest that Gal-1 may serve as an adhesion molecule to interact with both cells and laminins. This MACS protocol may be useful for selecting pure IVD cells from mixed cells of pathological tissue.
PMCID: PMC3561733  PMID: 22692729
galectin-1; laminin; intervertebral disc; extracellular matrix; cell adhesion
3.  Development of a Nascent Galectin-1 Chimeric Molecule for Studying the Role of Leukocyte Galectin-1 Ligands and Immune Disease Modulation 
Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a β-galactoside–binding lectin, plays a profound role in modulating adaptive immune responses by altering the phenotype and fate of T cells. Experimental data showing recombinant Gal-1 (rGal-1) efficacy on T cell viability and cytokine production, nevertheless, is controversial due to the necessity of using stabilizing chemicals to help retain Gal-1 structure and function. To address this drawback, we developed a mouse Gal-1 human Ig chimera (Gal-1hFc) that did not need chemical stabilization for Gal-1 ligand recognition, apoptosis induction, and cytokine modulation in a variety of leukocyte models. At high concentrations, Gal-1hFc induced apoptosis in Gal-1 ligand+ Th1 and Th17 cells, leukemic cells, and granulocytes from synovial fluids of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Importantly, at low, more physiologic concentrations, Gal-1hFc retained its homodimeric form without losing functionality. Not only did Gal-1hFc–binding trigger IL-10 and Th2 cytokine expression in activated T cells, but members of the CD28 family and several other immunomodulatory molecules were upregulated. In a mouse model of contact hypersensitivity, we found that a non-Fc receptor-binding isoform of Gal-1hFc, Gal-1hFc2, alleviated T cell-dependent inflammation by increasing IL-4+, IL-10+, TGF-β +, and CD25high/FoxP3+ T cells, and by decreasing IFN-γ + and IL-17+ T cells. Moreover, in human skin-resident T cell cultures, Gal-1hFc diminished IL-17+ T cells and increased IL-4+ and IL-10+ T cells. Gal-1hFc will not only be a useful new tool for investigating the role of Gal-1 ligands in leukocyte death and cytokine stimulation, but for studying how Gal-1–Gal-1 ligand binding shapes the intensity of immune responses.
PMCID: PMC2953643  PMID: 20844192
4.  Epigenetic inactivation of ST6GAL1 in human bladder cancer 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):901.
Posttranslational protein modifications are known to modulate key biological processes like proliferation and apoptosis. Accumulating evidence shows that ST6GAL1, an enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of sialic acid onto galactose-containing substrates, is aberrantly expressed in various cancers and may affect cell motility and invasion. This is the first study to describe ST6GAL1 expression and regulation in human bladder cancer.
ST6GAL1 mRNA expression levels in human cell lines (UROtsa, RT4, RT112 and J82) and tissue samples (n = 15 normal urothelium (NU), n = 13 papillary non-invasive tumors (pTa), n = 12 carcinoma in situ (CIS), n = 26 muscle invasive tumors (pT2-4)) were assessed using real-time PCR. In addition, ST6GAL1 protein expression was evaluated using immunohistochemistry. Promoter methylation analysis was performed using methylation-specific PCR (MSP) in cell lines (n = 4) and patient samples (n = 23 NU, n = 12 CIS, n = 29 pTa, n = 41 pT2-4). Epigenetic ST6GAL1 gene silencing was confirmed by in vitro demethylation of bladder cell lines. Data were validated by analysis of an independent bladder tumor data set (n = 184) based on The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) portal.
Semi-quantitative ST6GAL1 real-time PCR expression analysis showed two distinct trends: In muscle-invasive tumors ST6GAL1 expression was downregulation by 2.7-fold, while papillary non-invasive tumors showed an increased ST6GAL1 mRNA expression compared to normal urothelium. ST6GAL1 loss in muscle-invasive tumors was associated with increasing invasiveness. On the protein level, 69.2% (n = 45/65) of all tumors showed a weak ST6GAL1 protein staining (IRS ≤ 4) while 25.6% (16/65) exhibited a complete loss (IRS = 0) of ST6GAL1 protein. Tumor-specific DNA methylation of the ST6GAL1 promoter region was frequently found in pT2-4 tumors (53.6% (22/41)), whereas only 13.8% (4/29) of pTa tumors showed ST6GAL1 promoter methylation. Normal urothelium remained unmethylated. Importantly, we significantly revealed an inverse correlation between ST6GAL1 mRNA expression and ST6GAL1 promoter merthylation in primary bladder cancer. These findings were clearly verified by the TCGA public data set and in vitro demethylation assays functionally confirmed ST6GAL1 promoter methylation as a potential regulatory factor for ST6GAL1 gene silencing.
Our study characterizes for the first time ST6GAL1 expression loss caused by aberrant ST6GAL1 promoter methylation potentially indicating a tumor suppressive role in bladder carcinogenesis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-901) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4265431  PMID: 25465919
ST6GAL1; Bladder cancer; DNA methylation; Tumor suppressor
5.  Increased levels of anti-non-Gal IgG following pig-to-baboon bone marrow transplantation correlate with failure of engraftment 
Xenotransplantation  2013;20(6):10.1111/xen.12065.
The development of genetically modified pigs which lack the expression of alpha 1–3 galactosyl transferase, (GalT-KO pigs) has facilitated the xenogeneic transplantation of porcine organs and tissues into primates by avoiding hyperacute rejection due to pre-existing antibodies against the Gal epitope. However, antibodies against other antigens (anti-non-Gal antibodies), are found at varying levels in the pre-transplant sera of most primates. We have previously found that baboons with high levels of pre-transplant anti-non-Gal IgG, conditioned with a non-myeloablative conditioning regimen, failed to engraft following pig-to-baboon bone marrow transplantation [8]. Two baboons with low levels of pre-transplant anti-non-Gal IgG, conditioned with the same regimen, showed porcine bone marrow progenitors at 28 days following transplantation, suggesting engraftment. These baboons also showed evidence of donor-specific hypo-responsiveness. This observation led us to investigate the hypothesis that selecting for baboon recipients with low pre-transplant anti-non-Gal IgG levels might improve engraftment levels following GalT-KO pig-to-baboon bone marrow transplantation.
Five baboons, with low pre-transplant anti-non-Gal IgG levels, received transplantation of bone marrow cells (1–5 × 10^9/kg of recipient weight) from GalT-KO pigs. They received a non-myeloablative conditioning regimen consisting of low-dose total body irradiation (150cGy), thymic irradiation (700cGy), anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) and tacrolimus. In addition, two baboons received Rituximab and Bortezomib (Velcade) treatment as well as extra-corporeal immunoadsorption using GalT-KO pig livers. Bone marrow engraftment was assessed by porcine-specific PCR on colony forming units (CFU) of day 28 bone marrow aspirates. Anti-non-Gal antibody levels were assessed by serum binding towards GalT-KO PBMC using flow cytometry (FACS). Peripheral macro-chimerism was measured by FACS using pig and baboon-specific antibodies and baboon anti-pig cellular responses were assessed by mixed lymphocyte reactions (MLR).
As previously reported, two of five baboons demonstrated detectable bone marrow engraftment at four weeks after transplantation. Engraftment was associated with lack of an increase in anti–non-Gal IgG levels as well as cellular hypo-responsiveness towards pig. Three subsequent baboons with similarly low levels of pre-existing anti-non-Gal IgG showed no engraftment and an increase in anti-non-Gal IgG antibody levels following transplantation. Peripheral macrochimerism was only seen for a few days following transplantation regardless of antibody development.
Selecting for baboon recipients with low levels of pre-transplant anti-non-Gal IgG did not ensure bone marrow engraftment. Failure to engraft was associated with an increase in anti-non-Gal IgG levels following transplantation. These results suggest that anti-non-Gal-IgG is likely involved in early bone marrow rejection and that successful strategies for combating anti-non-Gal IgG development may allow better engraftment. Since engraftment was only low and transient regardless of antibody development, innate immune, or species compatibility mechanisms will likely also need to be addressed in order to achieve long term engraftment.
PMCID: PMC3848062  PMID: 24289469
xenotransplantation; bone marrow; anti-non-Gal; antibody; miniature swine; baboons
6.  Cytosolic galectin-7 impairs p53 functions and induces chemoresistance in breast cancer cells 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):801.
Resistance to apoptosis induced by anti-cancer drugs is a major obstacle for the treatment of aggressive forms of breast cancer. Galectin-7 (gal-7) was recently shown to be specifically expressed in basal-like but not in luminal subtypes of human breast cancer.
We generated a mutant form of gal-7 (R74S). Arginine 74 is the structural equivalent of arginine 186 found in human galectin-3. Mutation R186S was previously shown to abolish the biological function of galectin-3.
Mutation of arginine 74 induced only limited and local changes to the gal-7 fold. Recombinant forms of R74S and wtgal-7 were also equally effective at forming dimers in solution. Analysis of the thermodynamic parameters by isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) indicated, however, that binding of lactose to gal-7 was inhibited by the R74S mutation. Using confocal microscopy and electron microscopy, we confirmed the expression of gal-7 in the cytosolic and nuclear compartments of breast cancer cells and the ability of gal-7 to translocate to mitochondria. The mutation at position 74, however, greatly reduced the expression of gal-7 in the nuclear and mitochondrial compartments. Interestingly, cells expressing mutated gal-7 were equally if not even more resistant to drug-induced apoptosis when compared to cells expressing wtgal-7. We also found that both wtgal-7 and R74S inhibited dox-induced PARP-1 cleavage and p53 protein expression. The inhibition of p53 correlated with a decrease in p21 protein expression and CDKN1A mRNA. Furthermore, analysis of nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions showed that both wild type and R74S mutant gal-7 inhibited p53 nuclear translocation, possibly by increasing degradation of cytosolic p53.
These findings pose a challenge to the paradigm that has guided the design of galectin-specific inhibitors for the treatment of cancer. This study suggests that targeting CRD-independent cytosolic gal-7 in breast cancer cells may be a valuable strategy for the treatment of this disease. Our study will thus complement efforts towards improving selectivity of targeted anticancer agents.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-801) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4228062  PMID: 25367122
Galectin-7; Localization; Apoptosis; p53; Breast cancer
7.  The Anti-Non-Gal Xenoantibody Response to Xenoantigens on Gal Knockout Pig Cells is Encoded by a Restricted Number of Germline Progenitors1 
Antibodies directed at non-gal xenoantigens are responsible for acute humoral xenograft rejection when gal knockout (GalTKO) pig organs are transplanted into non-human primates. We generated IgM and IgG gene libraries using peripheral blood lymphocytes of rhesus monkeys initiating active xenoantibody responses after immunization with GalTKO pig endothelial cells and used these libraries to identify IgVH genes that encode antibody responses to non-gal pig xenoantigens. Immunoglobulin genes derived from the IGHV3-21 germline progenitor encode xenoantibodies directed at non-gal xenoantigens. Transduction of GalTKO cells with lentiviral vectors expressing the porcine α1,3 galactosyltransferase gene responsible for gal carbohydrate expression results in a higher level of binding of “anti-non-gal” xenoantibodies to transduced GalTKO cells expressing the gal carbohydrate, suggesting that anti-non-gal xenoantibodies crossreact with carbohydrate xenoantigens. The galactosyltransferase 2 gene encoding isoglobotriaosylceramide synthase (iGb3 synthase) is not expressed in GalTKO pig cells. Our results demonstrate that anti-non-gal xenoantibodies in primates are encoded by IgVH genes that are restricted to IGHV3-21 and bind to an epitope that is structurally related to but distinct from the Gal carbohydrate.
PMCID: PMC3462011  PMID: 18671678
Primate; Xenotransplantation; Pig; α1,3 galactosyltransferase gene knockout; Xenoantibodies; VH3 Immunoglobulin Genes
8.  Expression and functions of galectin-7 in ovarian cancer 
Oncotarget  2014;5(17):7705-7721.
There is a critical need to develop effective new strategies for diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer. In the present work, we investigated the expression of galectin-7 (gal-7) in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cells and studied its functional relevance. Immunohistochemical analysis of gal-7 expression in tissue microarrays showed that while gal-7 was not detected in normal ovarian tissues, positive cytoplasmic staining of gal-7 was detected in epithelial cells in all EOC histological subtypes but was more frequent in high grade tumors and metastatic samples. Gal-7 expression correlated with a significant difference in the overall survival of patients with ovarian serous cystadenocarcinoma. Furthermore, using human EOC cell lines, we found that gal-7 expression was induced by mutant p53. Mechanistically, Matrigel invasion assays and live cell imaging showed that gal-7 increased the invasive behavior of ovarian cancer cells by inducing MMP-9 and increasing cell motility. EOC cells can also secrete gal-7. Recombinant human gal-7 kills Jurkat T cells and human peripheral T cells, suggesting that gal-7 also has immunosuppressive properties. Taken together, our study validates the clinical significance of gal-7 overexpression in ovarian cancer and provides a rationale for targeting gal-7 to improve the outcome of patients with this disease.
PMCID: PMC4202155  PMID: 25277199
galectin-7; ovarian cancer; immunosupression; p53; MMP-9
9.  Induction of Cytolytic Anti-Gal Antibodies in α-1,3-Galactosyltransferase Gene Knockout Mice by Oral Inoculation with Escherichia coli O86:B7 Bacteria  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(11):6215-6222.
Naturally occurring antibodies against [Gal α-1,3-Gal] structures (anti-Gal antibodies) are the primary effectors of human hyperacute rejection (HAR) of nonhuman tissue. Unlike most mammals, humans lack a functional α-1,3-galactosyltransferase (GalT) gene and produce abundant anti-Gal antibodies, putatively in response to GalT+ enteric bacteria. GalT knockout (KO) mice have been generated as a small animal model of HAR but inconsistently express anti-Gal antibodies. We hypothesized that enteric exposure of GalT KO mice to live GalT+ bacteria would produce cytolytic anti-Gal antibodies. Naive mice lacking anti-Gal antibodies were orally immunized with 1010 live GalT+ Escherichia coli O86:B7 bacteria and assayed for anti-Gal antibody titer, isotype, and cytolytic activity. Fecal samples were tested for E. coli O86:B7 prior to and after inoculation. In two separate experiments, 77 to 100% (n = 31) of mice developed serum anti-Gal immunoglobulin G (IgG; titer, 1:5 to 1:80) and/or anti-Gal IgM antibodies (titer, 1:5 to 1:1,280) 14 days postinoculation. Induced anti-Gal antibodies caused complement-mediated cytolysis of GalT+ target cells, with extensive cytolysis observed consistently at serum IgM titers of ≥1:320. Absorption with synthetic [Gal α-1,3-Gal] inhibited both antibody binding and cytolysis. E. coli O86:B7 was recovered from stool samples from 83 to 94% of inoculated mice but not from naive mice, thus confirming enteric exposure. These findings demonstrate that oral inoculation with E. coli O86:B7 is a novel and effective method to induce cytolytic anti-Gal antibodies in GalT KO mice and support the premise that enteric exposure to GalT+ bacteria induces anti-Gal antibodies in humans. These studies also suggest a role for GalT KO mice in elucidating anti-Gal responses in microbial immunity.
PMCID: PMC130328  PMID: 12379700
10.  Galectin-4 expression is associated with reduced lymph node metastasis and modulation of Wnt/β-catenin signalling in pancreatic adenocarcinoma 
Oncotarget  2014;5(14):5335-5349.
Galectin-4 (Gal-4) has been recently identified as a pivotal factor in the migratory capabilities of a set of defined pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell lines using zebrafish as a model system. Here we evaluated the expression of Gal-4 in PDAC tissues selected according to their lymph node metastatic status (N0 vs. N1), and investigated the therapeutic potential of targeting the cross-link with the Wnt signaling pathway in primary PDAC cells.
Analysis of Gal-4 expression in PDACs showed high expression of Gal-4 in 80% of patients without lymph node metastasis, whereas 70% of patients with lymph node metastases had low Gal-4 expression. Accordingly, in primary PDAC cells high Gal-4 expression was negatively associated with migratory and invasive ability in vitro and in vivo. Knockdown of Gal-4 in primary PDAC cells with high Gal-4 expression resulted in significant increase of invasion (40%) and migration (50%, P<0.05), whereas enforced expression of Gal-4 in primary cells with low Gal-4 expression reduced the migratory and invasive behavior compared to the control cells. Gal-4 markedly reduces β-catenin levels in the cell, counteracting the function of Wnt signaling, as was assessed by down-regulation of survivin and cyclin D1. Furthermore, Gal-4 sensitizes PDAC cells to the Wnt inhibitor ICG-001, which interferes with the interaction between CREB binding protein (CBP) and β-catenin. Collectively, our data suggest that Gal-4 lowers the levels of cytoplasmic β-catenin, which may lead to lowered availability of nuclear β-catenin, and consequently diminished levels of nuclear CBP-β-catenin complex and reduced activation of the Wnt target genes. Our findings provide novel insights into the role of Gal-4 in PDAC migration and invasion, and support the analysis of Gal-4 for rational targeting of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the treatment of PDAC.
PMCID: PMC4170638  PMID: 24977327
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; Galectin-4; migration; lymph node ratio; primary PDAC cells; Wnt/β-catenin pathway
11.  Effect of 5-azacytidine and galectin-1 on growth and differentiation of the human b lymphoma cell line bl36 
5-AzaCytidine (AzaC) is a DNA demethylating drugs that has been shown to inhibit cell growth and to induce apoptosis in certain cancer cells. Induced expression of the galectin1 (Gal1) protein, a galactoside-binding protein distributed widely in immune cells, has been described in cultured hepatoma-derived cells treated with AzaC and this event may have a role in the effect of the drug. According to this hypothesis, we investigated the effect of AzaC and Gal1 on human lymphoid B cells phenotype.
The effect of AzaC and Gal1 on cell growth and phenotype was determined on the Burkitt lymphoma cell line BL36. An immunocytochemical analysis for detection of Gal1 protein expression was performed in AzaC-treated cells. To investigate the direct effects of Gal1, recombinant Gal1 was added to cells.
Treatment of lymphoid B cells with AzaC results in: i) a decrease in cell growth with an arrest of the cell cycle at G0/G1 phase, ii) phenotypic changes consistent with a differentiated phenotype, and iii) the expression of p16, a tumor-suppressor gene whose expression was dependent of its promoter demethylation, and of Gal1. A targeting of Gal 1 to the plasma membrane follows its cytosolic expression. To determine which of the effects of AzaC might be secondary to the induction of Gal1, recombinant Gal1 was added to BL36 cells. Treated cells displayed growth inhibition and phenotypic changes consistent with a commitment toward differentiation.
Altered cell growth and expression of the cell surface plasma cell antigen, CD138 are detectable in BL36 cells treated by AzaC as well as by Gal1. It seems that AzaC-induced Gal1 expression and consequent binding of Gal1 on its cell membrane receptor may be, in part, involved in AzaC-induced plasmacytic differentiation.
PMCID: PMC101226  PMID: 11983026
12.  Mapping and Application of Enhancer-trap Flippase Expression in Larval and Adult Drosophila CNS 
The Gal4/ UAS binary method is powerful for gene and neural circuitry manipulation in Drosophila. For most neurobiological studies, however, Gal4 expression is rarely tissue-specific enough to allow for precise correlation of the circuit with behavioral readouts. To overcome this major hurdle, we recently developed the FINGR method to achieve a more restrictive Gal4 expression in the tissue of interest. The FINGR method has three components: 1) the traditional Gal4/UAS system; 2) a set of FLP/FRT-mediated Gal80 converting tools; and 3) enhancer-trap FLP (ET-FLP). Gal4 is used to define the primary neural circuitry of interest. Paring the Gal4 with a UAS-effector, such as UAS-MJD78Q or UAS-Shits, regulates the neuronal activity, which is in turn manifested by alterations in the fly behavior. With an additional UAS-reporter such as UAS-GFP, the neural circuit involved in the specific behavior can be simultaneously mapped for morphological analysis. For Gal4 lines with broad expression, Gal4 expression can be restricted by using two complementary Gal80-converting tools: tubP>Gal80> ('flip out') and tubP>stop>Gal80 ('flip in'). Finally, investigators can turn Gal80 on or off, respectively, with the help of tissue-specific ET-FLP. In the flip-in mode, Gal80 will repress Gal4 expression wherever Gal4 and ET-FLP intersect. In the flip-out mode, Gal80 will relieve Gal4 repression in cells in which Gal4 and FLP overlap. Both approaches enable the restriction of the number of cells in the Gal4-defined circuitry, but in an inverse pattern. The FINGR method is compatible with the vast collection of Gal4 lines in the fly community and highly versatile for traditional clonal analysis and for neural circuit mapping. In this protocol, we demonstrate the mapping of FLP expression patterns in select ET-FLPx2 lines and the effectiveness of the FINGR method in photoreceptor cells. The principle of the FINGR method should also be applicable to other genetic model organisms in which Gal4/UAS, Gal80, and FLP/FRT are used.
PMCID: PMC3155963  PMID: 21673643
13.  Galanin Receptor 1 Deletion Exacerbates Hippocampal Neuronal Loss after Systemic Kainate Administration in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15657.
Galanin is a neuropeptide with a wide distribution in the central and peripheral nervous systems and whose physiological effects are mediated through three G protein-coupled receptor subtypes, GalR1, GalR2, and GalR3. Several lines of evidence indicate that galanin, as well as activation of the GalR1 receptor, is a potent and effective modulator of neuronal excitability in the hippocampus.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In order to test more formally the potential influence of GalR1 on seizure-induced excitotoxic cell death, we conducted functional complementation tests in which transgenic mice that exhibit decreased expression of the GalR1 candidate mRNA underwent kainate-induced status epilepticus to determine if the quantitative trait of susceptibility to seizure-induced cell death is determined by the activity of GalR1. In the present study, we report that reduction of GalR1 mRNA via null mutation or injection of the GalR1 antagonist, galantide, prior to kainate-induced status epilepticus induces hippocampal damage in a mouse strain known to be highly resistant to kainate-induced neuronal injury. Wild-type and GalR1 knockout mice were subjected to systemic kainate administration. Seven days later, Nissl and NeuN immune- staining demonstrated that hippocampal cell death was significantly increased in GalR1 knockout strains and in animals injected with the GalR1 antagonist. Compared to GalR1-expressing mice, GalR1-deficient mice had significantly larger hippocampal lesions after status epilepticus.
Our results suggest that a reduction of GalR1 expression in the C57BL/6J mouse strain renders them susceptible to excitotoxic injury following systemic kainate administration. From these results, GalR1 protein emerges as a new molecular target that may have a potential therapeutic value in modulating seizure-induced cell death.
PMCID: PMC3001489  PMID: 21179451
14.  ST6Gal-I protein expression is upregulated in human epithelial tumors and correlates with stem cell markers in normal tissues and colon cancer cell lines 
Cancer research  2013;73(7):2368-2378.
The ST6Gal-I sialyltransferase adds an α2–6-linked sialic acid to the N-glycans of certain receptors. ST6Gal-I mRNA has been reported to be upregulated in human cancer, but a prior lack of antibodies has limited immunochemical analysis of the ST6Gal-I protein. Here we show upregulated ST6Gal-I protein in several epithelial cancers, including many colon carcinomas. In normal colon, ST6Gal-I localized selectively to the base of crypts, where stem/progenitor cells are found, and the tissue staining patterns were similar to the established stem cell marker ALDH1. Similarly, ST6Gal-I expression was restricted to basal epidermal layers in skin, another stem/progenitor cell compartment. ST6Gal-I was highly expressed in induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, with no detectable expression in the fibroblasts from which iPS cells were derived. On the basis of these observations we investigated further an association of ST6Gal-I with cancer stem cells (CSCs). Selection of irinotecan resistance in colon carcinoma cells led to a greater proportion of CSCs compared with parental cells, as measured by the CSC markers CD133 and ALDH1 activity (Aldefluor). These chemoresistant cells exhibited a corresponding upregulation of ST6Gal-I expression. Conversely, shRNA-mediated attenuation of ST6Gal-I in colon carcinoma cells with elevated endogenous expression decreased the number of CD133/ALDH1-positive cells present in the cell population. Collectively, our results suggest that ST6Gal-I promotes tumorigenesis and may serve as a regulator of the stem cell phenotype in both normal and cancer cell populations.
PMCID: PMC4038408  PMID: 23358684
glycosylation; ST6Gal-I; colon carcinoma; stem cells; cancer stem cells
15.  Interaction between human natural anti-alpha-galactosyl immunoglobulin G and bacteria of the human flora. 
Infection and Immunity  1988;56(7):1730-1737.
Anti-alpha-galactosyl immunoglobulin G (anti-Gal) is a natural antibody present in unusually high amounts in human sera. It constitutes as much as 1% of circulating immunoglobulin G in humans and displays a distinct specificity for the carbohydrate epitope galactosyl alpha(1----3) galactosyl (Gal alpha 1----3Gal). Recently, it has been suggested by various investigators that anti-Gal may be related to some autoimmune phenomena, since marked elevation of its titer was found in sera of patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, glomerulonephritis, and Chagas' disease. In view of the ubiquitous presence of anti-Gal in high titers in humans, throughout life, we hypothesized that, analogous with synthesis of anti-blood group antibodies against bacterial antigens, bacteria within normal intestinal flora may provide constant antigenic stimulation for the synthesis of anti-Gal. This hypothesis would imply that anti-Gal may bind to a variety of bacterial strains of human flora. In the present study, the interaction between affinity chromatography-purified anti-Gal and various bacterial strains was studied. By the use of a direct immunostaining assay and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, anti-Gal was found to interact with a variety of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, and Salmonella strains, some of which were isolates from normal stool. Furthermore, the anti-Gal-binding sites in some strains were found to be present on the carbohydrate portion of bacterial lipopolysaccharides. It is thus suggested that Gal alpha 1----3Gal epitopes in the outer membranes of normal flora enterobacteria may provide a continuous source for antigenic stimulation. Since there is no immune tolerance to the Gal alpha 1----3Gal carbohydrate structure in humans, anti-Gal seems to be constantly produced in response to these enterobacteria. In addition, bacteria which express Gal alpha----3Gal epitopes and which may adhere to various cells mediated binding of anti-Gal to human cell lines. These findings raise the possibility that anti-Gal may damage normal human tissues via inflammatory processes facilitated by bacterial Gal alpha 1----3Gal epitopes.
PMCID: PMC259469  PMID: 3290105
16.  Allergen-induced airway remodeling is impaired in galectin-3 deficient mice1 
The role played by the β-galactoside-binding lectin galectin-3 (Gal-3) in airway remodeling, a characteristic feature of asthma that leads to airway dysfunction and poor clinical outcome in humans, was investigated in a murine model of chronic allergic airway inflammation. Wild-type (WT) and Gal-3 knock-out (KO) mice were subjected to repetitive allergen challenge with ovalbumin (OVA) up to 12 weeks and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) and lung tissue collected after the last challenge were evaluated for cellular features associated with airway remodeling. Compared to WT mice, chronic OVA challenge in Gal-3 KO mice resulted in diminished remodeling of the airways with significantly reduced mucus secretion, sub-epithelial fibrosis, smooth muscle thickness, and peribronchial angiogenesis. The higher degree of airway remodeling in WT mice was associated with higher Gal-3 expression in the BALF as well as lung tissue. Cell counts in BALF and lung immunohistology demonstrated that eosinophil infiltration in OVA-challenged Gal-3 KO mice was significantly reduced compared to WT mice. Evaluation of cellular mediators associated with eosinophil recruitment and airway remodeling revealed that levels of eotaxin-1, IL-5, IL-13, FIZZ1 and TGF-β were substantially lower in Gal-3 KO mice. Finally, leukocytes from Gal-3 KO mice demonstrated decreased trafficking (rolling) on vascular endothelial adhesion molecules compared to WT cells. Overall, these studies demonstrate that Gal-3 is an important lectin that promotes airway remodeling via airway recruitment of inflammatory cells, specifically eosinophils, and the development of a Th2 phenotype as well as increased expression of eosinophil-specific chemokines, pro-fibrogenic and angiogenic mediators.
PMCID: PMC2918241  PMID: 20543100
17.  Decreased Galectin-9 and Increased Tim-3 Expression Are Related to Poor Prognosis in Gastric Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81799.
Galectin-9 (Gal-9) induces adhesion and aggregation of certain cell types and inhibits the metastasis of tumor cells. T-cell immunoglobulin–and mucin domain-3–containing molecule 3 (TIM-3) plays a pivotal role in immune regulation. The aim of this study is to investigate Gal-9 and TIM-3 alterations in gastric cancer and their prognostic values.
Gal-9 and Tim-3 expression was evaluated using a tissue microarray immunohistochemistry method in 305 gastric cancers, of which 84 had paired adjacent normal samples. Cell lines SGC-7901, BGC-823, MGC-803, MKN45 and GES-1 were also stained. Correlations were analyzed between expression levels of Gal-9 and Tim-3 protein and tumor parameters or clinical outcomes.
Gal-9 and Tim-3 stained positive on tumor cells in 86.2% (263/305), and 60.0% (183/305) patients with gastric cancer, respectively. Gal-9 expression was significantly higher in cancer than in normal mucosa (P<0.001). Reduced Gal-9 expression was associated with lymph-vascular invasion, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis and worse TNM staging (P = 0.034, P = 0.009, P = 0.002 and P = 0.043, respectively). In contrast, Tim-3 expression was significantly lower in cancer than in control mucosa (P<0.001). Patients with lymph-vascular invasion had higher expression levels of Tim-3 (P<0.001). Moreover, multivariate analysis shows that both high Gal-9 expression and low Tim-3 expression were significantly associated with long overall survival (P = 0.002, P = 0.010, respectively); the combination of Gal-9 and Tim-3 expression was an independent prognostic predictor for patients with gastric cancer (RR: 0.43; 95%CI: 0.20–0.93). H.pylori infection status was not associated with Gal-9 and Tim-3 expression (P = 0.102, P = 0.565).
The results suggest that expression of Gal-9 and Tim-3 in tumor cells may be a potential, independent prognostic factor for patients with gastric cancer. Gal-9 and TIM-3 may play an important part in the gastric carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3858245  PMID: 24339967
18.  Galectin-1 Exerts Inhibitory Effects during DENV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112474.
Dengue virus (DENV) is an enveloped RNA virus that is mosquito-transmitted and can infect a variety of immune and non-immune cells. Response to infection ranges from asymptomatic disease to a severe disorder known as dengue hemorrhagic fever. Despite efforts to control the disease, there are no effective treatments or vaccines. In our search for new antiviral compounds to combat infection by dengue virus type 1 (DENV-1), we investigated the role of galectin-1, a widely-expressed mammalian lectin with functions in cell-pathogen interactions and immunoregulatory properties. We found that DENV-1 infection of cells in vitro exhibited caused decreased expression of Gal-1 in several different human cell lines, suggesting that loss of Gal-1 is associated with virus production. In test of this hypothesis we found that exogenous addition of human recombinant Gal-1 (hrGal-1) inhibits the virus production in the three different cell types. This inhibitory effect was dependent on hrGal-1 dimerization and required its carbohydrate recognition domain. Importantly, the inhibition was specific for hrGal-1, since no effect was observed using recombinant human galectin-3. Interestingly, we found that hrGal-1 directly binds to dengue virus and acts, at least in part, during the early stages of DENV-1 infection, by inhibiting viral adsorption and its internalization to target cells. To test the in vivo role of Gal-1 in DENV infection, Gal-1-deficient-mice were used to demonstrate that the expression of endogenous Galectin-1 contributes to resistance of macrophages to in vitro-infection with DENV-1 and it is also important to physiological susceptibility of mice to in vivo infection with DENV-1. These results provide novel insights into the functions of Gal-1 in resistance to DENV infection and suggest that Gal-1 should be explored as a potential antiviral compound.
PMCID: PMC4231055  PMID: 25392933
19.  GalNAcα1-3Gal, a new prognostic marker for cervical cancer 
Cancer cells undergo significant changes in carbohydrate expression, and these alterations can be useful as biomarkers and therapeutic targets. In this study, we investigated the expression of carbohydrate antigens containing a terminal GalNAcα1-3Gal or GalNAcα1-6Gal on human cervix and cervical carcinoma. Monoclonal antibodies to each of these carbohydrates were generated by immunizing rabbits with the corresponding antigen conjugated to KLH followed by hybridoma production. Antibodies were screened and evaluated using a combination of carbohydrate microarray profiling, ELISA, dot blot and immunohistochemical staining to verify specificity. Antibody 132-3 was found to selectively recognize GalNAcα1-3Gal with little cross-reactivity to other structurally similar antigens such as GalNAcα1-6Gal, blood group A, Forssman antigen and the Tn antigen on both solution assays and human tissue. While GalNAcα1-6Gal expression was not detected, GalNAcα1-3Gal expression was found on 55% of squamous cell carcinomas. Expression in normal tissue was observed but was restricted to the suprabasal epithelial layer. Importantly, we found expression of the antigen on cervical cancer had a statistically significant correlation with the 5-year survival rate of the patients (48% vs 85% for antigen neg. vs pos., p = 0.017). Expression of GalNAcα1-3Gal did not correlate with other clinical factors including tumor stage, size, and lymph node metastasis, indicating the antigen is a new, independent biomarker for the prognosis of cervical cancer.
PMCID: PMC2794947  PMID: 19585575
carbohydrate; prognostic marker; cervical cancer; glycan array
20.  Cloning and expression of porcine β1,4 N-acetylgalactosaminyl transferase encoding a new xenoreactive antigen 
Xenotransplantation  2014;21(6):543-554.
Xenograft rejection of pigs organs with an engineered mutation in the GGTA-1 gene (GTKO) remains a predominantly antibody mediated process which is directed to a variety of non-Gal protein and carbohydrate antigens. We previously used an expression library screening strategy to identify six porcine endothelial cell cDNAs which encode pig antigens that bind to IgG induced after pig-to-primate cardiac xenotransplantation. One of these gene products was a glycosyltransferase with homology to the bovine β1,4 N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase (B4GALNT2). We now characterize the porcine B4GALNT2 gene sequence, genomic organization, expression, and functional significance.
The porcine B4GALNT2 cDNA was recovered from the original library isolate, subcloned, sequenced, and used to identify a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) containing the entire B4GALNT2 locus from the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute BACPAC Resource Centre (#AC173453). PCR primers were designed to map the intron/exon genomic organization in the BAC clone. A stable human embryonic kidney (HEK) cell line expressing porcine B4GALNT2 (HEK-B4T) was produced. Expression of porcine B4GALNT2 in HEK-B4T cells was characterized by immune staining and siRNA transfection. The effects of B4GALNT2 expression in HEK-B4T cells was measured by flow cytometry and complement mediated lysis. Antibody binding to HEK and HEK-B4T cells was used to detect an induced antibody response to the B4GALNT2 produced glycan and the results were compared to GTKO PAEC specific non-Gal antibody induction. Expression of porcine B4GALNT2 in pig cells and tissues was measured by qualitative and quantitative real time reverse transcriptase PCR and by Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA) tissue staining.
The porcine B4GALNT2 gene shares a conserved genomic organization and encodes an open reading frame with 76 and 70% amino acid identity to the human and murine B4GALNT2 genes, respectively. The B4GALNT2 gene is expressed in porcine endothelial cells and shows a broadly distributed expression pattern. Expression of porcine B4GALNT2 in human HEK cells (HEK-B4T) results in increased binding of antibody to the B4GALNT2 enzyme, and increased reactivity with anti-Sda and DBA. HEK-B4T cells show increased sensitivity to complement mediated lysis when challenged with serum from primates after pig to primate cardiac xenotransplantation. In GTKO and GTKO:CD55 cardiac xenotransplantation recipients there is a significant correlation between the induction of a non-Gal antibody, measured using GTKO PAECs, and the induction of antibodies which preferentially bind to HEK-B4T cells.
The functional isolation of the porcine B4GALNT2 gene from a PAEC expression library, the pattern of B4GALNT2 gene expression and its sensitization of HEK-B4T cells to antibody binding and complement mediated lysis indicates that the enzymatic activity of porcine B4GALNT2 produces a new immunogenic non-Gal glycan which contributes in part to the non-Gal immune response detected after pig-to-baboon cardiac xenotransplantation.
PMCID: PMC4262693  PMID: 25176027
antigen; B4GALNT2; cardiac xenotransplantation; immune response; porcine
21.  The human natural anti-Gal IgG. III. The subtlety of immune tolerance in man as demonstrated by crossreactivity between natural anti-Gal and anti-B antibodies 
A well-defined antigen/antibody system was used to evaluate the effect of immune tolerance on the spectrum of specificities of natural antibodies. The antibody used in this study, anti-Gal, is a naturally occurring, polyclonal IgG that constitutes 1% of the circulating IgG in humans. We have previously shown that anti-Gal, purified from AB sera, specifically interacts with glycosphingolipids bearing a Gal alpha 1---- 3Gal epitope, but not with the closely related B antigen in which the penultimate galactose of the Gal alpha 1----3Gal epitope is fucosylated Gal alpha 1----3(Fuc alpha 1----2)Gal. This narrow specificity was assumed to be the result of an effective immune tolerance mechanism that prevents the expression of antibody clones that can recognize both the Gal alpha 1----3Gal and the self B epitopes. If the assumption that immune tolerance determines the range of anti-Gal specificity is correct, then anti-Gal from individuals lacking the B antigen (A and O blood types) would be expected to interact with both Gal alpha 1---- 3Gal and Gal alpha 1----3(Fuc alpha 1----2)Gal epitopes. In this study, anti-Gal from the serum of individuals of various blood types was purified by affinity chromatography on Gal alpha 1----3Gal adsorbent and tested for its reaction with the B antigen. Whereas anti-Gal from AB and B individuals only reacted with Gal alpha 1----3Gal epitopes, anti-Gal from A and O individuals reacted with both Gal alpha 1----3Gal and B epitopes. Furthermore, it was determined that the majority of anti-B reactivity in A and O individuals is in fact anti-Gal antibodies capable of recognizing both Gal alpha 1----3Gal and B epitopes. It can be concluded from these results that immune tolerance accurately controls the spectrum of natural antibody specificities by preventing the production of antibody clones that can interact with self antigens.
PMCID: PMC2188289  PMID: 2434599
22.  Cell Surface Galectin-9 Expressing Th Cells Regulate Th17 and Foxp3+ Treg Development by Galectin-9 Secretion 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48574.
Galectin-9 (Gal-9), a β-galactoside binding mammalian lectin, regulates immune responses by reducing pro-inflammatory IL-17-producing Th cells (Th17) and increasing anti-inflammatory Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) in vitro and in vivo. These functions of Gal-9 are thought to be exerted by binding to receptor molecules on the cell surface. However, Gal-9 lacks a signal peptide for secretion and is predominantly located in the cytoplasm, which raises questions regarding how and which cells secrete Gal-9 in vivo. Since Gal-9 expression does not necessarily correlate with its secretion, Gal-9-secreting cells in vivo have been elusive. We report here that CD4 T cells expressing Gal-9 on the cell surface (Gal-9+ Th cells) secrete Gal-9 upon T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation, but other CD4 T cells do not, although they express an equivalent amount of intracellular Gal-9. Gal-9+ Th cells expressed interleukin (IL)-10 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β but did not express Foxp3. In a co-culture experiment, Gal-9+ Th cells regulated Th17/Treg development in a manner similar to that by exogenous Gal-9, during which the regulation by Gal-9+ Th cells was shown to be sensitive to a Gal-9 antagonist but insensitive to IL-10 and TGF-β blockades. Further elucidation of Gal-9+ Th cells in humans indicates a conserved role of these cells through evolution and implies the possible utility of these cells for diagnosis or treatment of immunological diseases.
PMCID: PMC3492452  PMID: 23144904
23.  Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 p30II Functions as a Transcription Factor and Differentially Modulates CREB-Responsive Promoters 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(23):11270-11277.
Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1), a complex retrovirus, causes adult T-cell lymphoma/leukemia and is linked to a variety of immune-mediated disorders. The roles of proteins encoded in the pX open reading frame (ORF) II gene region in HTLV-1 replication or in mediating virus-associated diseases remain to be defined. A nucleus-localizing 30-kDa protein, p30II, encoded within pX ORF II has limited homology with the POU family of transcription factors. Recently, we reported that selected mutations in pX ORF II diminish the ability of HTLV-1 to maintain high viral loads in infected rabbits. Herein we have tested the transcriptional ability of p30II in mammalian cells by using yeast Gal4 fusion protein vectors and transfection of luciferase reporter genes driven by CREB-responsive promoters. p30II as a Gal4 DNA-binding domain (DBD) fusion protein transactivates Gal4-driven luciferase reporter gene activity up to 25-fold in 293 and HeLa-tat cells. We confirmed nuclear localization of p30II and demonstrate dose-dependent binding of p30II-Gal4(DBD) to Gal4 DNA-binding sites. The transcriptional activity of p30II-Gal4(DBD) was independent of TATA box flanking sequences, as shown by using two different Gal4 reporter systems. Studies of selected p30II mutants indicated that domains that mediate transcription are restricted to a central core region of the protein between amino acids 62 and 220. Transfection of a p30II-expressing plasmid repressed cellular CRE-driven reporter gene activity, with or without Tax expression. In contrast, p30II at lower concentrations enhanced HTLV-1 long terminal repeat-driven reporter gene activity independent of Tax expression. These data are the first to demonstrate a transcriptional function for p30II and suggest a mechanism by which this nuclear protein may influence HTLV-1 replication or cellular gene expression in vivo.
PMCID: PMC113231  PMID: 11070026
24.  Comparative distribution of human and avian type sialic acid influenza receptors in the pig 
A major determinant of influenza infection is the presence of virus receptors on susceptible host cells to which the viral haemagglutinin is able to bind. Avian viruses preferentially bind to sialic acid α2,3-galactose (SAα2,3-Gal) linked receptors, whereas human strains bind to sialic acid α2,6-galactose (SAα2,6-Gal) linked receptors. To date, there has been no detailed account published on the distribution of SA receptors in the pig, a model host that is susceptible to avian and human influenza subtypes, thus with potential for virus reassortment. We examined the relative expression and spatial distribution of SAα2,3-GalG(1-3)GalNAc and SAα2,6-Gal receptors in the major organs from normal post-weaned pigs by binding with lectins Maackia amurensis agglutinins (MAA II) and Sambucus nigra agglutinin (SNA) respectively.
Both SAα2,3-Gal and SAα2,6-Gal receptors were extensively detected in the major porcine organs examined (trachea, lung, liver, kidney, spleen, heart, skeletal muscle, cerebrum, small intestine and colon). Furthermore, distribution of both SA receptors in the pig respiratory tract closely resembled the published data of the human tract. Similar expression patterns of SA receptors between pig and human in other major organs were found, with exception of the intestinal tract. Unlike the limited reports on the scarcity of influenza receptors in human intestines, we found increasing presence of SAα2,3-Gal and SAα2,6-Gal receptors from duodenum to colon in the pig.
The extensive presence of SAα2,3-Gal and SAα2,6-Gal receptors in the major organs examined suggests that each major organ may be permissive to influenza virus entry or infection. The high similarity of SA expression patterns between pig and human, in particular in the respiratory tract, suggests that pigs are not more likely to be potential hosts for virus reassortment than humans. Our finding of relative abundance of SA receptors in the pig intestines highlights a need for clarification on the presence of SA receptors in the human intestinal tract.
PMCID: PMC2832630  PMID: 20105300
25.  Neuronal Expression of GalNAc Transferase Is Sufficient to Prevent the Age-Related Neurodegenerative Phenotype of Complex Ganglioside-Deficient Mice 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2014;34(3):880-891.
Gangliosides are widely expressed sialylated glycosphingolipids with multifunctional properties in different cell types and organs. In the nervous system, they are highly enriched in both glial and neuronal membranes. Mice lacking complex gangliosides attributable to targeted ablation of the B4galnt1 gene that encodes β-1,4-N-acetylegalactosaminyltransferase 1 (GalNAc–transferase; GalNAcT−/−) develop normally before exhibiting an age-dependent neurodegenerative phenotype characterized by marked behavioral abnormalities, central and peripheral axonal degeneration, reduced myelin volume, and loss of axo-glial junction integrity. The cell biological substrates underlying this neurodegeneration and the relative contribution of either glial or neuronal gangliosides to the process are unknown. To address this, we generated neuron-specific and glial-specific GalNAcT rescue mice crossed on the global GalNAcT−/− background [GalNAcT−/−-Tg(neuronal) and GalNAcT−/−-Tg(glial)] and analyzed their behavioral, morphological, and electrophysiological phenotype. Complex gangliosides, as assessed by thin-layer chromatography, mass spectrometry, GalNAcT enzyme activity, and anti-ganglioside antibody (AgAb) immunohistology, were restored in both neuronal and glial GalNAcT rescue mice. Behaviorally, GalNAcT−/−-Tg(neuronal) retained a normal “wild-type” (WT) phenotype throughout life, whereas GalNAcT−/−-Tg(glial) resembled GalNAcT−/− mice, exhibiting progressive tremor, weakness, and ataxia with aging. Quantitative electron microscopy demonstrated that GalNAcT−/− and GalNAcT−/−-Tg(glial) nerves had significantly increased rates of axon degeneration and reduced myelin volume, whereas GalNAcT−/−-Tg(neuronal) and WT appeared normal. The increased invasion of the paranode with juxtaparanodal Kv1.1, characteristically seen in GalNAcT−/− and attributed to a breakdown of the axo-glial junction, was normalized in GalNAcT−/−-Tg(neuronal) but remained present in GalNAcT−/−-Tg(glial) mice. These results indicate that neuronal rather than glial gangliosides are critical to the age-related maintenance of nervous system integrity.
PMCID: PMC3891965  PMID: 24431446
ganglioside; glycosyltransferase; neurodegeneration; transgenic

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