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1.  Tumor cell migration and invasion are regulated by expression of variant integrin glycoforms 
Experimental cell research  2008;314(16):2941-2950.
The ST6Gal-I glycosyltransferase, which adds α2-6-linked sialic acids to glycoproteins, is overexpressed in colon adenocarcinoma, and enzyme activity is correlated with tumor cell invasiveness. Previously we reported that forced expression of oncogenic ras in HD3 colonocytes causes upregulation of ST6Gal-I, leading to increased α2-6 sialylation of β1 integrins. To determine whether ras-induced sialylation is involved in promoting the tumor cell phenotype, we used shRNA to downregulate ST6Gal-I in ras-expressors, and then monitored integrin-dependent responses. Here we show that forced ST6Gal-I downregulation, leading to diminished α2-6 sialylation of integrins, inhibits cell adhesion to collagen-I, a β1 ligand. Correspondingly, collagen binding is reduced by enzymatic removal of cell surface sialic acids from ras-expressors with high ST6Gal-I levels (i.e., no shRNA). Cells with forced ST6Gal-I downregulation also exhibit decreased migration on collagen-I and diminished invasion through Matrigel. Importantly, GD25 cells, which lack β1 integrins (and ST6Gal-I), do not demonstrate differential invasiveness when forced to express ST6Gal-I, suggesting that the effects of variant sialylation are mediated specifically by β1 integrins. The observation that cell migration and invasion can be blocked in oncogenic ras-expressing cells by forcing ST6Gal-I downregulation implicates differential sialylation as an important ras effector, and also suggests that ST6Gal-I is a promising therapeutic target.
doi:10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.07.021
PMCID: PMC2570357  PMID: 18703050
Ras; integrin; sialic acid; metastasis; collagen; colonocytes
2.  Polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 2 regulates cellular metastasis-associated behavior in gastric cancer 
Aberrant glycosylation of cell surface glycoprotein due to specific alterations of glycosyltransferase activity is usually associated with invasion and metastasis of cancer, particularly of gastric carcinomas. Polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 2 (ppGalNAc-T2), which catalyzes initiation of mucin-type O-glycosylation, is also involved in tumor migration and invasion. However, a comprehensive understanding of how ppGalNAc-T2 correlates with the metastasic potential of human gastric cancer is not currently available. In the present study, ppGalNAc-T2 was detected in a variety of human poorly differentiated tumor cells, and expression appeared to be higher in SGC7901 gastric cancer cells. In addition, we investigated the potential effects of ppGalNAc-T2 on growth and metastasis-associated behavior in SGC7901 cells after stable transfection with ppGalNAc-T2 sense and antisense vectors. We found that cell proliferation, adhesion and invasion were decreased in ppGalNAc-T2 overexpressed cells but increased in ppGalNAc-T2 downregulated cells. Therefore, we attempted to clarify the mechanisms underlying the anti-metastatic activities of ppGalNAc-T2. Further investigation indicated that overexpression of ppGalNAc-T2 is involved in the inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 expression at both the protein and mRNA levels, which may be associated with ppGalNAc-T2 suppressing the expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1. However, it did not exhibit any apparent correlation with MMP-14 expression levels. Our data show the effect of ppGalNAc-T2 on proliferation, adhesion or invasion of SGC7901 gastric cancer cells, suggesting that ppGalNAc-T2 may exert anti-proliferative and anti-metastatic activity through the decrease of MMP-2 and TGF-β1. These results indicate that ppGalNAc-T2 may be used as a novel therapeutic target for human gastric cancer treatment.
doi:10.3892/ijmm.2012.1130
PMCID: PMC4042861  PMID: 22992780
polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 2; gastric cancer; metastasis; matrix metalloproteinase-2; transforming growth factor-β1
3.  Cleavage of ST6Gal I by Radiation-Induced BACE1 Inhibits Golgi-Anchored ST6Gal I-Mediated Sialylation of Integrin β1 and Migration in Colon Cancer Cells 
Background
Previously, we found that β-galactoside α2,6-sialyltransferase (ST6Gal I), an enzyme that adds sialic acids to N-linked oligosaccharides of glycoproteins and is frequently overexpressed in cancer cells, is up-regulated by ionizing radiation (IR) and cleaved to a form possessing catalytic activity comparable to that of the Golgi-localized enzyme. Moreover, this soluble form is secreted into the culture media. Induction of ST6Gal I significantly increased the migration of colon cancer cells via sialylation of integrin β1. Here, we further investigated the mechanisms underlying ST6Gal I cleavage, solubilization and release from cells, and addressed its functions, focusing primarily on cancer cell migration.
Methods
We performed immunoblotting and lectin affinity assay to analyze the expression of ST6 Gal I and level of sialylated integrin β1. After ionizing radiation, migration of cells was measured by in vitro migration assay. α2, 6 sialylation level of cell surface was analyzed by flow cytometry. Cell culture media were concentrated and then analyzed for soluble ST6Gal I levels using an α2, 6 sialyltransferase sandwich ELISA.
Result
We found that ST6Gal I was cleaved by BACE1 (β-site amyloid precursor protein-cleaving enzyme), which was specifically overexpressed in response to IR. The soluble form of ST6Gal I, which also has sialyltransferase enzymatic activity, was cleaved from the Golgi membrane and then released into the culture media. Both non-cleaved and cleaved forms of ST6Gal I significantly increased colon cancer cell migration in a sialylation-dependent manner. The pro-migratory effect of the non-cleaved form of ST6Gal I was dependent on integrin β1 sialylation, whereas that of the cleaved form of ST6Gal I was not, suggesting that other intracellular sialylated molecules apart from cell surface molecules such as integrin β1 might be involved in mediating the pro-migratory effects of the soluble form of ST6Gal I. Moreover, production of soluble form ST6Gal I by BACE 1 inhibited integrin β1 sialylation and migration by Golgi-anchored form of ST6Gal I.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that soluble ST6Gal I, possibly in cooperation with the Golgi-bound form, may participate in cancer progression and metastasis prior to being secreted from cancer cells.
doi:10.1186/1748-717X-7-47
PMCID: PMC3351029  PMID: 22449099
BACE1; Migration; Radiation; ST6Gal I
4.  Galectin-1 overexpression promotes progression and chemoresistance to cisplatin in epithelial ovarian cancer 
Zhang, P | Zhang, P | Shi, B | Zhou, M | Jiang, H | Zhang, H | Pan, X | Gao, H | Sun, H | Li, Z
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(1):e991-.
This study was performed to investigate the role of galectin-1 (Gal-1) in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) progression and chemoresistance. Tissue samples from patients with EOC were used to examine the correlation between Gal-1 expression and clinical stage of EOC. The role of Gal-1 in EOC progression and chemoresistance was evaluated in vitro by siRNA-mediated knockdown of Gal-1 or lentivirus-mediated overexpression of Gal-1 in EOC cell lines. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying Gal-1-mediated tumor progression and chemoresistance, the expression and activities of some signaling molecules associated with Gal-1 were analyzed. We found overexpression of Gal-1 in advanced stages of EOC. Knockdown of endogenous Gal-1 in EOC cells resulted in the reduction in cell growth, migration, and invasion in vitro, which may be caused by Gal-1's interaction with H-Ras and activation of the Raf/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway. Additionally, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and c-Jun were downregulated in Gal-1-knockdown cells. Notably, Gal-1 overexpression could significantly decrease the sensitivities of EOC cells to cisplatin, which might be ascribed to Gal-1-induced activation of the H-Ras/Raf/ERK pathway and upregulation of p21 and Bcl-2. Taken together, the results suggest that Gal-1 contributes to both tumorigenesis and cisplatin resistance in EOC. Thus, Gal-1 is a potential therapeutic target for EOC.
doi:10.1038/cddis.2013.526
PMCID: PMC4040687  PMID: 24407244
galectin-1; epithelial ovarian cancer; progression; chemoresistance
5.  Pancreatic Cancer Cell Glycosylation Regulates Cell Adhesion and Invasion through the Modulation of α2β1 Integrin and E-Cadherin Function 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98595.
In our previous studies we have described that ST3Gal III transfected pancreatic adenocarcinoma Capan-1 and MDAPanc-28 cells show increased membrane expression levels of sialyl-Lewis x (SLex) along with a concomitant decrease in α2,6-sialic acid compared to control cells. Here we have addressed the role of this glycosylation pattern in the functional properties of two glycoproteins involved in the processes of cancer cell invasion and migration, α2β1 integrin, the main receptor for type 1 collagen, and E-cadherin, responsible for cell-cell contacts and whose deregulation determines cell invasive capabilities. Our results demonstrate that ST3Gal III transfectants showed reduced cell-cell aggregation and increased invasive capacities. ST3Gal III transfected Capan-1 cells exhibited higher SLex and lower α2,6-sialic acid content on the glycans of their α2β1 integrin molecules. As a consequence, higher phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase tyrosine 397, which is recognized as one of the first steps of integrin-derived signaling pathways, was observed in these cells upon adhesion to type 1 collagen. This molecular mechanism underlies the increased migration through collagen of these cells. In addition, the pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines as well as human pancreatic tumor tissues showed colocalization of SLex and E-cadherin, which was higher in the ST3Gal III transfectants. In conclusion, changes in the sialylation pattern of α2β1 integrin and E-cadherin appear to influence the functional role of these two glycoproteins supporting the role of these glycans as an underlying mechanism regulating pancreatic cancer cell adhesion and invasion.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098595
PMCID: PMC4039506  PMID: 24878505
6.  ST3Gal.I sialyltransferase relevance in bladder cancer tissues and cell lines 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:357.
Background
The T antigen is a tumor-associated structure whose sialylated form (the sialyl-T antigen) involves the altered expression of sialyltransferases and has been related with worse prognosis. Since little or no information is available on this subject, we investigated the regulation of the sialyltransferases, able to sialylate the T antigen, in bladder cancer progression.
Methods
Matched samples of urothelium and tumor tissue, and four bladder cancer cell lines were screened for: ST3Gal.I, ST3Gal.II and ST3Gal.IV mRNA level by real-time PCR. Sialyl-T antigen was detected by dot blot and flow cytometry using peanut lectin. Sialyltransferase activity was measured against the T antigen in the cell lines.
Results
In nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancers, ST3Gal.I mRNA levels were significantly higher than corresponding urothelium (p < 0.001) and this increase was twice more pronounced in cancers with tendency for recurrence. In muscle-invasive cancers and matching urothelium, ST3Gal.I mRNA levels were as elevated as nonmuscle-invasive cancers. Both non-malignant bladder tumors and corresponding urothelium showed ST3Gal.I mRNA levels lower than all the other specimen groups. A good correlation was observed in bladder cancer cell lines between the ST3Gal.I mRNA level, the ST activity (r = 0.99; p = 0.001) and sialyl-T antigen expression, demonstrating that sialylation of T antigen is attributable to ST3Gal.I. The expression of sialyl-T antigens was found in patients' bladder tumors and urothelium, although without a marked relationship with mRNA level. The two ST3Gal.I transcript variants were also equally expressed, independently of cell phenotype or malignancy.
Conclusion
ST3Gal.I plays the major role in the sialylation of the T antigen in bladder cancer. The overexpression of ST3Gal.I seems to be part of the initial oncogenic transformation of bladder and can be considered when predicting cancer progression and recurrence.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-357
PMCID: PMC2763879  PMID: 19811634
7.  Galectin-4 functions as a tumor suppressor of human colorectal cancer 
Development of CRC involves a series of genetic alterations with altered expression of proteins and cell signaling pathways. Here, we identified that gal-4, a marker of differentiation, was down-regulated in CRC. The goal of this work was to determine the function of gal-4 in CRC. Toward this goal, the human colon biopsies and tissue microarrays containing a gradient of pathology were analyzed for gal-4 expression by immunohistochemistry. Cell proliferation, migration, motility, forced expression, knockdown, cell cycle and apoptosis assays were used to characterize gal-4 function. Immunohistochemistry identified that gal-4 expression was significantly down-regulated in adenomas and was essentially absent in invasive carcinomas. Forced expression of gal-4 in gal-4 -ve cells induced cell cycle arrest and retarded cell migration and motility. Further, gal-4 sensitized the cells to CPT-induced apoptosis. Gal-4 knockdown resulted in increased cell proliferation, migration and motility. Gal-4 was found to be associated with Wnt signaling proteins. Finally, gal-4 expression led to down-regulation of Wnt signaling target genes. This study demonstrates that loss of gal-4 is a common and specific event in CRC. This study also shows that gal-4 exhibits tumor suppressive effects in colorectal cancer cells in vitro. Through its ability to interact with, and down-regulate the functions of Wnt signaling pathway, gal-4 reveals a new dimension in the control of the Wnt signaling pathway. Thus, gal-4 may prove to be an important molecule in understanding the biology of CRC.
doi:10.1002/ijc.25750
PMCID: PMC3071872  PMID: 21064109
Colorectal cancer; galectins; Wnt signaling; tumor suppressor
8.  Decreased Galectin-9 and Increased Tim-3 Expression Are Related to Poor Prognosis in Gastric Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81799.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081799
PMCID: PMC3858245  PMID: 24339967
9.  Galectin-4 Reduces Migration and Metastasis Formation of Pancreatic Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65957.
Galectin-4 (Gal-4) is a member of the galectin family of glycan binding proteins that shows a significantly higher expression in cystic tumors of the human pancreas and in pancreatic adenocarcinomas compared to normal pancreas. However, the putative function of Gal-4 in tumor progression of pancreatic cancer is still incompletely understood. In this study the role of Gal-4 in cancer progression was investigated, using a set of defined pancreatic cancer cell lines, Pa-Tu-8988S (PaTu-S) and Pa-Tu-8988T (PaTu-T), as a model. These two cell lines are derived from the same liver metastasis of a human primary pancreatic adenocarcinoma, but differ in their growth characteristics and metastatic capacity. We demonstrated that Gal-4 expression is high in PaTu-S, which shows poor migratory properties, whereas much lower Gal-4 levels are observed in the highly metastatic cell line PaTu-T. In PaTu-S, Gal-4 is found in the cytoplasm, but it is also secreted and accumulates at the membrane at sites of contact with neighboring cells. Moreover, we show that Gal-4 inhibits metastasis formation by delaying migration of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro using a scratch assay, and in vivo using zebrafish (Danio rerio) as an experimental model. Our data suggest that Gal-4 may act at the cell-surface of PaTu-S as an adhesion molecule to prevent release of the tumor cells, but has in addition a cytosolic function by inhibiting migration via a yet unknown mechanism.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065957
PMCID: PMC3688853  PMID: 23824659
10.  The role of integrin glycosylation in galectin-8-mediated trabecular meshwork cell adhesion and spreading 
Glycobiology  2008;19(1):29-37.
Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) is a major blindness-causing disease, characterized by elevated intraocular pressure due to an insufficient outflow of aqueous humor. The trabecular meshwork (TM) lining the aqueous outflow pathway modulates the aqueous outflow facility. TM cell adhesion, cell–matrix interactions, and factors that influence Rho signaling in TM cells are thought to play a pivotal role in the regulation of aqueous outflow. In a recent study, we demonstrated that galectin-8 (Gal8) modulates the adhesion and cytoskeletal arrangement of TM cells and that it does so through binding to β1 integrins and inducing Rho signaling. The current study is aimed at the characterization of the mechanism by which Gal8 mediates TM cell adhesion and spreading. We demonstrate here that TM cells adhere to and spread on Gal8-coated wells but not on galectin-1 (Gal1)- or galectin-3 (Gal3)-coated wells. The adhesion of TM cells to Gal8-coated wells was abolished by a competing sugar, β-lactose, but not by a noncompeting sugar, sucrose. Also, a trisaccharide, NeuAcα2-3Galβ1-4GlcNAc, which binds specifically to the N-CRD of Gal8, inhibited the spreading of TM cells to Gal8-coated wells. In contrast, NeuAcα2-6Galβ1-4GlcNAc which lacks affinity for Gal8 had no effect. Affinity chromatography of cell extracts on a Gal8-affinity column and binding experiments with plant lectins, Maakia Amurensis and Sambucus Nigra, revealed that α3β1, α5β1, and αvβ1 integrins are major counterreceptors of Gal8 in TM cells and that TM cell β1 integrins carry predominantly α2-3-sialylated glycans, which are high-affinity ligands for Gal8 but not for Gal1 or Gal3. These data lead us to propose that Gal8 modulates TM cell adhesion and spreading, at least in part, by interacting with α2-3-sialylated glycans on β1 integrins.
doi:10.1093/glycob/cwn100
PMCID: PMC2733777  PMID: 18849583
cell adhesion; galectin-8; glaucoma; integrins; trabecular meshwork
11.  Transient gene silencing of galectin-3 suppresses pancreatic cancer cell migration and invasion through degradation of β-catenin 
Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related mortality and often has a poor prognosis because of its late diagnosis, aggressive local invasion, early metastasis, and poor response to chemotherapy. The chemotherapeutic agent gemcitabine is effective for treating advanced pancreatic cancer, but its efficacy remains less than satisfactory. It is expected that further investigation of pancreatic cancer cell invasion and development of strategies to block this process should improve the disease prognosis. In this study, we tested our hypothesis that galectin-3 (gal-3), a multifunctional member of the β-galactoside-binding protein family, may regulate pancreatic cancer cell motility, and silencing of it inhibit cell motility. Previous studies demonstrated that this protein is associated with tumor cell adhesion, proliferation, differentiation, angiogenesis, apoptosis, and metastasis. Here, we used gal-3 small interfering RNA (siRNA) to silence its expression in various pancreatic cancer cell lines to determine whether gal-3 regulates cell proliferation, migration and invasion in vitro. We found that silencing gal-3 reduced cellular migration and invasion, but failed to affect proliferation. In gal-3 siRNA-transfected cells, we detected a decrease in β-catenin expression, an important signal for cancer cell invasion, which was caused by down-regulation of phosphorylated Akt and GSK-3β. We also found that matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 expression was reduced by gal-3 silencing. These results indicate that gal-3-mediated invasion via MMP-2 regulated by β-catenin degradation is initiated by Akt phosphorylation in pancreatic cancer cells. Our results suggest that gal-3 can be a novel therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer.
doi:10.1002/ijc.25946
PMCID: PMC3833077  PMID: 21448903
β-catenin; Galectin-3; Invasion; MMP-2; Pancreatic cancer; Wnt
12.  Tumor galectin-1 mediates tumor growth and metastasis through regulation of T-cell apoptosis 
Cancer research  2011;71(13):4423-4431.
Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a carbohydrate-binding protein whose secretion is enhanced by hypoxia, promotes tumor aggressiveness by promoting angiogenesis and T cell apoptosis. However, the importance of tumor versus host Gal-1 in tumor progression is undefined. Here we offer evidence that implicates tumor Gal-1 and its modulation of T cell immunity in progression. Comparing Gal-1 deficient mice as hosts for Lewis lung carcinoma cells where Gal-1 levels were preserved or knocked down, we found that tumor Gal-1 was more critical than host Gal-1 in promoting tumor growth and spontaneous metastasis. Enhanced growth and metastasis associated with Gal-1 related to its immunomodulatory function, insofar as the benefits of Gal-1 expression to Lewis lung carcinoma growth were abolished in immune-deficient mice. In contrast, angiogenesis, as assessed by microvessel density count, was similar between tumors with divergent Gal-1 levels when examined at a comparable size. Our findings establish that tumor rather than host Gal-1 is responsible for mediating tumor progression through intratumoral immune modulation, with broad implications in developing novel targeting strategies for Gal-1 in cancer.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-4157
PMCID: PMC3129397  PMID: 21546572
Galectin-1; Lung cancer; immune-modulation; apoptosis; hypoxia
13.  Endothelial integrin α3β1 stabilizes carbohydrate-mediated tumor/endothelial cell adhesion and induces macromolecular signaling complex formation at the endothelial cell membrane 
Oncotarget  2014;5(5):1382-1389.
Blood borne metastatic tumor cell adhesion to endothelial cells constitutes a critical rate-limiting step in hematogenous cancer metastasis. Interactions between cancer associated carbohydrate Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen (TF-Ag) and endothelium-expressed galectin-3 (Gal-3) have been identified as the leading molecular mechanism initiating tumor/endothelial cell adhesion in several types of cancer. However, it is unknown how these rather weak and transient carbohydrate/lectin mediated interactions are stabilized. Here, using Western blot and LC tandem mass spectrometry analyses of pull-downs utilizing TF-Ag loaded gold nanoparticles, we identified Gal-3, endothelial integrin α3β1, Src kinase, as well as 5 additional molecules mapping onto focal adhesion pathway as parts of the macromolecular complexes formed at the endothelial cell membranes downstream of TF-Ag/Gal-3 interactions. In a modified parallel flow chamber assay, inhibiting α3β1 integrin greatly reduced the strength of tumor/endothelial cell interactions without affecting the initial cancer cell adhesion. Further, the macromolecular complex induced by TF-Ag/Gal-3/α3β1 interactions activates Src kinase, p38, and ERK1/2, pathways in endothelial cells in a time- and α3β1-dependent manner. We conclude that, following the initial metastatic cell attachment to endothelial cells mediated by TF-Ag/Gal-3 interactions, endothelial integrin α3β1 stabilizes tumor/endothelial cell adhesion and induces the formation of macromolecular signaling complex activating several major signaling pathways in endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC4012737  PMID: 24675526
tumor metastasis; adhesion; Thomsen-Friedenreich antigen; galectin; integrin
14.  Correlation of CD44v6 expression with ovarian cancer progression and recurrence 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:182.
Background
Previously some groups demonstrated that CD44 variant 6 (CD44v6) is correlated with progression and metastasis of ovarian cancer. However, a number of other groups failed to find such an association. Moreover, epithelial ovarian cancer is known to easily metastasize to distinct sites such as the pelvic and abdominal cavities, but the potential association of CD44v6 expression with site-specific metastasis of ovarian cancer has not been explored. This study sought to evaluate the expression of CD44 standard (CD44s) and CD44v6 in primary, metastatic and recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer to explore the potential association of CD44s and CD44v6 with tumor progression and recurrence.
Methods
Tumor specimens were procured from patients with advanced (FIGO III, G3) and recurrent ovarian serous adenocarcinoma. CD44s and CD44v6 expression in the tumor tissues was evaluated by real-time RT-PCR and Western blot. Moreover, serum soluble CD44s or CD44v6 concentrations of early stage (FIGO I, G1), advanced (FIGO III, G3) and recurrent ovarian serous adenocarcinoma patients were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). CD44v6 expression in a different set of tumor samples on an ovarian cancer tissue chip was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and the correlation of CD44v6 expression with clinicopathologic features was analyzed. Finally, the effects of knockdown of CD44v6 in SKOV3 cells on cell adhesion, invasion and migration were assessed.
Results
The expression of CD44v6, but not CD44s, is up-regulated in recurrent ovarian serous cancer compared to advanced primary tumor. CD44v6 expression is also preferentially increased in the tumor at the abdominal cavity metastasis site of advanced diseases. Consistently, serum soluble CD44v6 levels of recurrent ovarian cancer were higher than those of early stage and advanced primary diseases. The IHC data demonstrate that CD44v6 expression is correlated with clinicopathologic features and tumor progression. Lastly, knockdown of CD44v6 decreases the adhesion and migration but not invasion capacities of SKOV3 cells.
Conclusions
CD44v6 expression levels are associated with epithelial ovarian cancer progression, metastasis and relapse. Moreover, serum soluble CD44v6 may be used as a potential marker for identifying tumor relapse. Finally, CD44v6 may play a role in ovarian cancer metastasis by mediating tumor cell adhesion and migration.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-182
PMCID: PMC3635997  PMID: 23565736
Ovarian cancer; CD44v6; Tumor progression; Abdominal cavity metastasis; Recurrence
15.  α2,3-Sialyltransferase ST3Gal III Modulates Pancreatic Cancer Cell Motility and Adhesion In Vitro and Enhances Its Metastatic Potential In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e12524.
Background
Cell surface sialylation is emerging as an important feature of cancer cell metastasis. Sialyltransferase expression has been reported to be altered in tumours and may account for the formation of sialylated tumour antigens. We have focused on the influence of alpha-2,3-sialyltransferase ST3Gal III in key steps of the pancreatic tumorigenic process.
Methodology/Principal Findings
ST3Gal III overexpressing pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines Capan-1 and MDAPanc-28 were generated. They showed an increase of the tumour associated antigen sialyl-Lewisx. The transfectants' E-selectin binding capacity was proportional to cell surface sialyl-Lewisx levels. Cellular migration positively correlated with ST3Gal III and sialyl-Lewisx levels. Moreover, intrasplenic injection of the ST3Gal III transfected cells into athymic nude mice showed a decrease in survival and higher metastasis formation when compared to the mock cells.
Conclusion
In summary, the overexpression of ST3Gal III in these pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines underlines the role of this enzyme and its product in key steps of tumour progression such as adhesion, migration and metastasis formation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012524
PMCID: PMC2931708  PMID: 20824144
16.  Eosinophil-expressed galectin-3 regulates cell trafficking and migration 
Galectin-3 (Gal-3), a β galactoside-binding lectin, is implicated in the pathogenesis of allergic airway inflammation and allergen-challenged mice deficient in Gal-3 (Gal-3-/-) exhibit decreased airway recruitment of eosinophils (Eos). Gal-3 is expressed and secreted by several cell types and can thus function extracellularly and intracellularly to regulate a variety of cellular responses. We sought to determine the role of Eos-expressed Gal-3 in promoting Eos trafficking and migration in the context of allergic airway inflammation using bone marrow (BM)-derived Eos from wild-type (WT) and Gal-3-/- mice. Airway recruitment of Eos in acute (4 weeks) and chronic (8–12 weeks) allergen-challenged WT mice correlated with Gal-3 expression in the lungs. BM-derived Eos were found to express Gal-3 on the cell surface and secrete soluble Gal-3 when exposed to eotaxin-1. Compared to WT Eos, Gal-3-/- Eos exhibited significantly reduced rolling on vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and decreased stable adhesion on intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) under conditions of flow in vitro. Evaluation of cytoskeletal rearrangement demonstrated that relatively fewer adherent Gal-3-/- Eos undergo cell spreading and formation of membrane protrusions. In addition, cell surface expression of integrin receptor αM (CD11b) was lower in Gal-3-/- Eos, which is likely to account for their altered adhesive interactions with VCAM-1 and ICAM-1. Gal-3-/- Eos also exhibited significantly decreased migration toward eotaxin-1 compared to WT Eos irrespective of similar levels of CCR3 expression. Further, eotaxin-induced migration of WT Eos remained unaffected in the presence of lactose, suggesting a role for intracellular Gal-3 in regulating Eos migration. Overall, our findings indicate that Gal-3 expression in the lungs correlates with Eos mobilization during allergic airway inflammation and signaling involving intracellular Gal-3 and/or secreted Gal-3 bound to the cell surface of Eos appears to be essential for Eos trafficking under flow as well as for migration.
doi:10.3389/fphar.2013.00037
PMCID: PMC3617360  PMID: 23576987
eosinophils; galectin-3; allergic airway inflammation; cell trafficking; migration
17.  Expression patterns of α2,3-Sialyltransferase I and α2,6-Sialyltransferase I in human cutaneous epithelial lesions 
Skin tumors have become one of the most common cancers in the world and their carcinogenesis is frequently associated with altered glycosylation patterns. The aberrant sialylation, a type of glycosylation, can mediate pathophysiological key events during various stages of tumor progression, including invasion and metastasis. Sialyltransferases play a key role in a variety of biological processes, including cell-cell communication, cell-matrix interaction, adhesion, and protein targeting. In this study, it was evaluated the expression of ST3Gal I and ST6Gal I in cutaneous epithelial lesions that include actinic keratosis (n=15), keratoacanthoma (n=9), squamous cell carcinoma (n=22) and basal cell carcinoma (n=28) in order to evaluate if sialyltransferases expression is different in premalignant and in malignant tumors. The expression of ST3Gal I was observed in actinic keratosis (53%), keratoacanthoma (78%), squamous cell carcinoma (73%) and basal cell carcinoma (32%) with statistic differences between basal cell carcinoma and keratoacanthoma (P=0.0239) and basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (P=0.0096); for ST6Gal I, cytoplasmic expression was noted in actinic keratosis (40%), heterogeneous and cytoplasmic expression was noted in keratoacanthoma (67%), squamous cell carcinoma (41%) and basal cell carcinoma (7%) with statistic differences between basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (P=0.0061) and basal cell carcinoma and keratoacanthoma (P=0.0008). In summary, our results showed that the high expression of ST3Gal I and ST6Gal I, in skin tumors, is associated with tumors with greater potential for invasion and metastasis, as in the case of squamous cell carcinoma, and this may be related to their behavior.
doi:10.4081/ejh.2013.e7
PMCID: PMC3683614  PMID: 23549466
sialic acid; α2,3-sialyltransferases; α2,6-sialyltransferases; basal cell carcinoma; squamous cell carcinoma; actinic keratosis; keratoacanthoma
18.  Generation and functional characterization of the anti-transferrin receptor single-chain antibody-GAL4 (TfRscFv-GAL4) fusion protein 
BMC Biotechnology  2012;12:91.
Background
The development of vectors for cell-specific gene delivery is a major goal of gene therapeutic strategies. Transferrin receptor (TfR) is an endocytic receptor and identified as tumor relative specific due to its overexpression on most tumor cells or tissues, and TfR binds and intakes of transferrin-iron complex. We have previously generated an anti-TfR single-chain variable fragments of immunoglobulin (scFv) which were cloned from hybridoma cell line producing antibody against TfR linked with a 20 aa-long linker sequence (G4S)4. In the present study, the anti-TfR single-chain antibody (TfRscFv) was fused to DNA-binding domain of the yeast transcription factor GAL4. The recombinant fusion protein, designated as TfRscFv-GAL4, is expected to mediate the entry of DNA-protein complex into targeted tumor cells.
Results
Fusion protein TfRscFv-GAL4 was expressed in an E. coli bacterial expression system and was recovered from inclusion bodies with subsequent purification by metal-chelate chromatography. The resulting proteins were predominantly monomeric and, upon refolding, became a soluble biologically active bifunctional protein. In biological assays, the antigen-binding activity of the re-natured protein, TfRscFv-GAL4, was confirmed by specific binding to different cancer cells and tumor tissues. The cell binding rates, as indicated by flow cytometry (FCM) analysis, ranged from 54.11% to 8.23% in seven different human carcinoma cell lines. It showed similar affinity and binding potency as those of parent full-length mouse anti-TfR antibody. The positive binding rates to tumor tissues by tissue microarrays (TMA) assays were 75.32% and 63.25%, but it showed weakly binding with hepatic tissue in 5 cases, and normal tissues such as heart, spleen, adrenal cortex blood vessel and stomach. In addition, the re-natured fusion protein TfRscFv-GAL4 was used in an ELISA with rabbit anti-GAL4 antibody. The GAL4-DNA functional assay through the GAL4 complementary conjugation with the GAL4rec-GFP-pGes plasmid to verify the GLA4 activity and GAL4rec-recognized specificity functions. It also shows the complex, TfRscFv-GAL4-GAL4rec-GFP-pGes, could be taken into endochylema to express the green fluorescent protein (GFP) with 8 to 10-fold transfection efficiency.
Conclusions
Results of our study demonstrated that the biofunctianality of genetically engineered fusion protein, TfRscFv-GAL4, was retained, as the fusion protein could both carry the plasmid of GAL4rec-pGes and bind TfR on tumour cells. This product was able to transfect target cells effectively in an immuno-specific manner, resulting in transient gene expression. This protein that can be applied as an effective therapeutic and diagnostic delivery to the tumor using endogenous membrane transport system with potential widespread utility.
doi:10.1186/1472-6750-12-91
PMCID: PMC3560209  PMID: 23192001
19.  Targeting the Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor Inhibits Ovarian Cancer Metastasis 
Purpose
To understand the functional and preclinical efficacy of targeting urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (u-PAR) in ovarian cancer.
Experimental Design
Expression of u-PAR was studied in 162 epithelial ovarian cancers, including 77 pairs of corresponding primary and metastatic tumors. The effect of an antibody against u-PAR (ATN-658) on proliferation, adhesion, invasion, apoptosis, and migration was assessed in three (SKOV3ip1, HeyA8, and CaOV3) ovarian cancer cell lines. The impact of the u-PAR antibody on tumor weight, number, and survival was examined in corresponding ovarian cancer xenograft models and the mechanism by which ATN-658 blocks metastasis was explored.
Results
Only 8% of all ovarian tumors were negative for u-PAR expression. Treatment of SKOV3ip1, HeyA8, and CaOV3 ovarian cancer cells with the u-PAR antibody inhibited cell invasion, migration and adhesion. In vivo, anti-u-PAR treatment reduced the number of tumors and tumor weight in CaOV3 and SKOV3ip1 xenografts, and reduced tumor weight and increased survival in HeyA8 xenografts. Immunostaining of CaOV3 xenograft tumors and ovarian cancer cell lines showed an increase in active-caspase 3 and TUNEL staining. Treatment with u-PAR antibody inhibited α5-integrin and u-PAR colocalization on primary human omental ECM. Anti-u-PAR treatment also decreased the expression of urokinase, u-PAR, β3-integrin and fibroblast growth factor receptor-1 both in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusions
This study shows that an antibody against u-PAR reduces metastasis, induces apoptosis, and reduces the interaction between u-PAR and α5-integrin. This provides a rationale for targeting the u-PAR pathway in patients with ovarian cancer and for further testing of ATN-658 in this indication.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-2258
PMCID: PMC3073583  PMID: 21149615
urokinase; urokinase receptor; ovarian cancer; metastasis
20.  Intra-Peritoneal Hyperthermia Combining α-Galactosylceramide in the Treatment of Ovarian Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69336.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the anti-tumor effect and potential mechanisms of i.p. hyperthermia in combination with α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) for the treatment of ovarian cancer. In this study, immuno-competent tumor models were established using murine ovarian cancer cell lines and treated with i.p. hyperthermia combining α-GalCer. Th1/Th2 cytokine expression profiles in the serum, NK cell cytotoxicity and phagocytic activities of dendritic cells (DCs) were assayed. We also analyzed the number of CD8+/IFN-γ+ tumor specific cytotoxic T cells, as well as the tumor growth based on depletion of lymphocyte sub-population. Therapeutic effect on those ovarian tumors was monitored by a non-invasive luminescent imaging system. Intra-peritoneal hyperthermia induced significant pro-inflammatory cytokines expression, and sustained the response of NK and DCs induced by α-GalCer treatment. The combination treatment enhanced the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) immune response in two mouse ovarian cancer models. This novel treatment modality by combination of hyperthermia and glycolipid provides a pronounced anti-tumor immune response and better survival. In conclusion, intra-peritoneal hyperthermia enhanced the pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion and phagocytic activity of DCs stimulated by α-GalCer. The subsequent CTL immune response induced by α-GalCer was further strengthened by combining with i.p. hyperthermia. Both innate and adaptive immunities were involved and resulted in a superior therapeutic effect in treating the ovarian cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069336
PMCID: PMC3720534  PMID: 23935988
21.  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.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3996-13.2014
PMCID: PMC3891965  PMID: 24431446
ganglioside; glycosyltransferase; neurodegeneration; transgenic
22.  Effect of exogenous galectin-1 on leukocyte migration: modulation of cytokine levels and adhesion molecules 
The effect of exogenous Gal-1 on cellular response and adhesion molecule expression was investigated in a classical model of acute inflammation induced by zymosan. C57BL6 mice, treated or not with human recombinant (hr) Gal-1, received i.p. injection of zymosan and peritoneal exudate, blood and mesentery were processed for cellular, biochemical, light and electron microscopic analysis after 4 and 24 h. Zymosan peritonitis provoked the expected signs of inflammation at 4 h, including a significant increase in extravasated PMNs in the mesentery and peritoneal exudate, mirrored by blood neutrophilia. These changes subsided after 24 h. Ultrastructural immunocytochemical analysis of PMNs showed significant Gal-1 expression and co-localization with L-selectin and β2-integrin in the plasma membrane and cytoplasm. Pharmacological treatment with hrGal-1 at 4 h produced an inhibition of PMN migration, associated with diminished expression of adhesion molecules, particularly β2-integrin, and TNF-α and IL-1β release by peritoneal cells. At 24 h, Gal-1 induced an increase in mononuclear phagocytic cell recruitment. In conclusion, our data propose an important mechanism of anti-inflammatory action of Gal-1, initially by modulation of pro-inflammatory cytokine release and PMN migration through an imbalance between adhesion molecule expression and, later, by promoting monocyte-macrophage recruitment.
PMCID: PMC3016105  PMID: 21228929
CD11b; CD62L; monocyte; neutrophil; zymosan peritonitis; immunocytochemistry
23.  Enhancement of metastatic ability by ectopic expression of ST6GalNAcI on a gastric cancer cell line in a mouse model 
ST6GalNAcI is a sialyltransferase responsible for the synthesis of sialyl Tn (sTn) antigen which is expressed in a variety of adenocarcinomas including gastric cancer especially in advanced cases, but the roles of ST6GalNAcI and sTn in cancer progression are largely unknown. We generated sTn-expressing human gastric cancer cells by ectopic expression of ST6GalNAcI to evaluate metastatic ability of these cells and prognostic effect of ST6GalNAcI and sTn in a mouse model, and identified sTn carrier proteins to gain insight into the function of ST6GalNAcI and sTn in gastric cancer progression. A green fluorescent protein-tagged human gastric cancer cell line was transfected with ST6GalNAcI to produce sTn-expressing cells, which were transplanted into nude mice. STn-positive gastric cancer cells showed higher intraperitoneal metastatic ability in comparison with sTn-negative control, resulting in shortened survival time of the mice, which was mitigated by anti-sTn antibody administration. Then, sTn-carrying proteins were immunoprecipitated from culture supernatants and lysates of these cells, and identified MUC1 and CD44 as major sTn carriers. It was confirmed that MUC1 carries sTn also in human advanced gastric cancer tissues. Identification of sTn carrier proteins will help understand mechanisms of metastatic phenotype acquisition of gastric cancer cells by ST6GalNAcI and sTn.
doi:10.1007/s10585-011-9445-1
PMCID: PMC3275730  PMID: 22228572
CD44; Gastric cancer; Glycoprotein; Mouse; MUC1; Peritoneal metastasis; Sialyl Tn; ST6GalNAcI
24.  N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-14 as a potential biomarker for breast cancer by immunohistochemistry 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:123.
Background
The post-translational modification of proteins, including glycosylation, differs between normal and tumor cells. The UDP-N-acetyl-D-galactosamine polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferases (GalNAc-Tases) family of enzymes regulates the initial steps of mucin O-glycosylation and is responsible for the altered glycosylation state observed in cancer cells. Recently it was found that GalNAc-T14 mRNA is heterogeneously expressed in breast carcinomas compared to normal tissue, however the expression profile of GalNAc-T14 protein in breast carcinomas compared to normal tissue is still unknown. In this study, we assessed the expression profile of GalNAc-T14 protein in malignant and non-malignant breast tissues by immunohistochemistry to evaluate whether GalNAc-T14 might be a potential biomarker for breast cancer.
Methods
In formalin-fixed tissues, the expression level of GalNAc-T14 protein was evaluated by immunohistochemistry assay in breast tissues. Expression profiles were assessed in normal tissues, benign fibroadenomas and several types of carcinomas.
Results
Our results showed that GalNAc-T14 was heterogeneously expressed in breast carcinomas compared to non-malignant tissue. GalNAc-T14 expression was observed in 47/56 (83.9%) carcinoma samples, 7/48 (14.6%) non-malignant breast tissue samples. GalNAc-T14 expression level was associated with histological grade. For this enzyme a significant association with invasive ductal type, mucinous adenocarcinoma and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) type was found.
Conclusion
Our results provide evidence that GalNAc-T14 may be a potential biomarker for breast cancer by immunohistochemistry. GalNAc-T14 expression level was associated with histological grade. GalNAc-T14 expression can provide new insights about breast cancer glycobiology.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-123
PMCID: PMC2873381  PMID: 20356418
25.  Galectin-3 Mediates Cross-Talk between K-Ras and Let-7c Tumor Suppressor microRNA 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27490.
Background
Galectin-3 (Gal-3) and active (GTP-bound) K-Ras contribute to the malignant phenotype of many human tumors by increasing the rate of cell proliferation, survival, and migration. These Gal-3-mediated effects result from a selective binding to K-Ras.GTP, causing increased nanoclustering in the cell membrane and leading to robust Ras signaling. Regulation of the interactions between Gal-3 and active K-Ras is not fully understood.
Methods and Findings
To gain a better understanding of what regulates the critical interactions between these two proteins, we examined the role of Gal-3 in the regulation of K-Ras by using Gal-3-knockout mouse embryonic-fibroblasts (Gal-3-/- MEFs) and/or Gal-3/Gal-1 double-knockout MEFs. We found that knockout of Gal-3 induced strong downregulation (∼60%) of K-Ras and K-Ras.GTP. The downregulation was somewhat more marked in the double-knockout MEFs, in which we also detected robust inhibition(∼50%) of ERK and Akt activation. These additional effects are probably attributable to inhibition of the weak interactions of K-Ras.GTP with Gal-1. Re-expression of Gal-3 reversed the phenotype of the Gal-3-/- MEFs and dramatically reduced the disappearance of K-Ras in the presence of cycloheximide to the levels seen in wild-type MEFs. Furthermore, phosphorylation of Gal-3 by casein kinase-1 (CK-1) induced translocation of Gal-3 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and the plasma membrane, leading to K-Ras stabilization accompanied by downregulation of the tumor suppressor miRNA let-7c, known to negatively control K-Ras transcription.
Conclusions
Our results suggest a novel cross-talk between Gal-3-mediated downregulation of let 7c microRNA (which in turn negatively regulates K-Ras transcription) and elucidates the association among Gal-3 let-7c and K-Ras transcription/translation, cellular compartmentalization and activity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027490
PMCID: PMC3216962  PMID: 22102901

Results 1-25 (1314387)