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1.  Galectin-3 regulates intracellular trafficking of epidermal growth factor receptor through Alix and promotes keratinocyte migration 
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mediated signaling pathways are important in a variety of cellular processes, including cell migration and wound re-epithelialization. Intracellular trafficking of EGFR is critical for maintaining EGFR surface expression. Galectin-3, a member of an animal lectin family, has been implicated in a number of physiological and pathological processes. Through studies of galectin-3-deficient mice and cells isolated from these mice, we demonstrated that absence of galectin-3 impairs keratinocyte migration and skin wound re-epithelialization. We have linked this pro-migratory function to a crucial role of cytosolic galectin-3 in controlling intracellular trafficking and cell surface expression of EGFR after EGF stimulation. Without galectin-3, the surface levels of EGFR are dramatically reduced and the receptor accumulates diffusely in the cytoplasm. This is associated with reduced rates of both endocytosis and recycling of the receptor. We have provided evidence that this novel function of galectin-3 may be mediated through interaction with its binding partner Alix, which is a protein component of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery. Our results suggest that galectin-3 is potentially a critical regulator of a number of important cellular responses through its intracellular control of trafficking of cell surface receptors.
PMCID: PMC3496033  PMID: 22785133
2.  Galectin-3 and the Skin 
Galectin-3 is highly expressed in epithelial cells including keratinocytes and is involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory skin diseases by affecting the functions of immune cells. For example, galectin-3 can contribute to atopic dermatitis (AD) by promoting polarization toward a Th2 immune response by regulating dendritic cell (DC) and T cell functions. In addition, galectin-3 may be involved in the development of contact hypersensitivity by regulating the migratory capacity of antigen presenting cells. Galectin-3 may act as a regulator of epithelial tumor progression and development through various signaling pathways, such as inhibiting keratinocyte apoptosis through regulation of the activation status of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and activated protein kinase B (AKT). Galectin-3 is detected at different stages of melanoma development. In contrast, a marked decrease in the expression of galectin-3 is observed in non-melanoma skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Galectin-3 may play an important role in tumor cell growth, apoptosis, cell motility, invasion, and metastasis. Galectin-3 may be a novel therapeutic target for a variety of skin diseases.
PMCID: PMC3192432  PMID: 21889881
3.  Galectin-3 protects keratinocytes from UVB-induced apoptosis by enhancing AKT activation and suppressing ERK activation 
Keratinocytes undergo apoptosis in a variety of physiological and pathological conditions. Galectin-3 is a member of a family of β-galactoside-binding animal lectins expressed abundantly in keratinocytes and other epithelial cells. Here we have studied the regulatory role of galectin-3 in keratinocyte apoptosis by using cells from gene-targeted galectin-3 null (gal3−/−) mice. We showed that galectin-3 mRNA was transiently upregulated in ultraviolet-B (UVB)-irradiated wild-type keratinocytes. We found that gal3−/− keratinocytes were significantly more sensitive to apoptosis induced by UVB as well as various other stimuli, both in vitro and in vivo, than wild-type cells. Moreover, we demonstrated that increased apoptosis in gal3−/− keratinocytes was attributable to higher extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation and lower AKT activation after UVB irradiation. We conclude that endogenous galectin-3 is an anti-apoptotic molecule in keratinocytes functioning by suppressing ERK activation and enhancing AKT activation and may play a role in the development of apoptosis-related skin diseases.
PMCID: PMC2768377  PMID: 18463681
4.  Critical role of galectin-3 in phagocytosis by macrophages 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;112(3):389-397.
Galectin-3 is a member of a large family of animal lectins. This protein is expressed abundantly by macrophages, but its function in this cell type is not well understood. We have studied the effect of galectin-3 gene targeting on phagocytosis, a major function of macrophages. Compared with wild-type macrophages, galectin-3–deficient (gal3–/–) cells exhibited reduced phagocytosis of IgG-opsonized erythrocytes and apoptotic thymocytes in vitro. In addition, gal3–/– mice showed attenuated phagocytic clearance of apoptotic thymocytes by peritoneal macrophages in vivo. These mice also exhibited reduced IgG-mediated phagocytosis of erythrocytes by Kupffer cells in a murine model of autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Additional experiments indicate that extracellular galectin-3 does not contribute appreciably to the phagocytosis-promoting function of this protein. Confocal microscopic analysis of macrophages containing phagocytosed erythrocytes revealed localization of galectin-3 in phagocytic cups and phagosomes. Furthermore, gal3–/– macrophages exhibited a lower degree of actin rearrangement upon Fcγ receptor crosslinkage. These results indicate that galectin-3 contributes to macrophage phagocytosis through an intracellular mechanism. Thus, galectin-3 may play an important role in both innate and adaptive immunity by contributing to phagocytic clearance of microorganisms and apoptotic cells.
PMCID: PMC166291  PMID: 12897206
5.  Expression of APC protein during tongue malignant transformation in galectin-3-deficient mice challenged by the carcinogen 4-nitroquniline-n-oxide 
Galectin-3 (Gal3) has been implicated in the development of different tumors because of its involvement in the Wnt signaling pathway by promoting beta-catenin translocation into the nucleus. The APC protein, a negative regulator of this pathway, has been strongly implicated in the development of colon cancer, but still has an undetermined role in the formation of oral cancer. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the relationship between Gal3, the Wnt signaling pathway, and APC expression in dysplasias and carcinomas developed experimentally in mice. Sixty galectin-3-deficient (Gal3-/-) and 60 wild-type (Gal3+/+) mice were early employed to be treated with the carcinogen 4NQO for 16 weeks and killed at either week 16 or week 32. Tongues were removed, processed and embedded in paraffin blocks. Sections 5 μm thick were made, and then stained by H&E to establish the diagnosis of dysplasia and carcinoma. Sections of 2 μm thickness were made to detect APC expression in these lesions by immunohistochemistry. Oral carcinogenesis occurred in both groups of mice, but no statistical difference was reached. APC expression was exclusively seen in the cytoplasm of all lesions studied. In the intragroup analysis, the majority of dysplasias and carcinomas exhibiting higher APC immunoreactivity was observed in Gal3-/- mice compared to Gal3+/+ mice, but no significant difference was found. However, a statistical difference was only observed between dysplastic lesions from two mice. Our results showed that neither the absence of Gal3 nor the APC protein appears to play a role in malignant transformation of the tongue.
PMCID: PMC4097242  PMID: 25031746
Oral carcinogenesis; immunohistochemistry; galectin-3; APC protein; tongue; mice
6.  Applications of Atomic Force Microscopy in Biophysical Chemistry of Cells 
The journal of physical chemistry. B  2010;114(18):5971-5982.
This article addresses the question of what information and new insights atomic force microscopy (AFM) provides that are of importance and relevance to cellular biophysical chemistry research. Three enabling aspects of AFM are discussed: (a) visualization of membrane structural features with nanometer resolution, such as microvilli, ridges, porosomes, lamellapodia, and filopodia; (b) revealing structural evolution associated with cellular signaling pathways by time-dependent and high-resolution imaging of the cellular membrane in correlation with intracellular components from simultaneous optical microscopy; and (c) qualitative and quantitative measurements of single cell mechanics by acquisition of force-deformation profiles and extraction of Young’s moduli for the membrane as well as cytoskeleton. A future prospective of AFM is also presented.
PMCID: PMC3980964  PMID: 20405961
7.  Galectin-3 disruption impaired tumoral angiogenesis by reducing VEGF secretion from TGFβ1-induced macrophages 
Cancer Medicine  2014;3(2):201-214.
In order to study the role of galectin-3 in tumor angiogenesis associated with tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) and tumor parenchyma, the galectin-3 expression was reconstituted in Tm1 melanoma cell line that lacks this protein. Galectin-3-expressing cells (Tm1G3) and mock-vector transfected cells (Tm1N3) were injected into wild-type (WT) and galectin-3 knockout (KO) C57Bl/6 mice. Tumors originated from Tm1G3 were larger in tumor volume with enlarged functional vessels, decreased necrotic areas, and increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein levels. Galectin-3-nonexpressing-cells injected into WT and KO showed increased levels of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) and, in WT animals this feature was also accompanied by increased VEGFR2 expression and its phosphorylation. In KO animals, tumors derived from galectin-3-expressing cells were infiltrated by CD68+-cells, whereas in tumors derived from galectin-3-nonexpressing-cells, CD68+ cells failed to infiltrate tumors and accumulated in the periphery of the tumor mass. In vitro studies showed that Tm1G3 secreted more VEGF than Tm1N3 cells. In the latter case, TGFβ1 induced VEGF production. Basal secretion of VEGF was higher in WT-bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) than in KO-BMDM. TGFβ1 induced secretion of VEGF only in WT-BMDM. Tm1G3-induced tumors had the Arginase I mRNA increased, which upregulated alternative macrophage (M2)/TAM induction. M2 stimuli, such as interleukin-4 (IL4) and TGFβ1, increased Arginase I protein levels and galectin-3 expression in WT- BMDM, but not in cells from KO mice. Hence, we report that galectin-3 disruption in tumor stroma and parenchyma decreases angiogenesis through interfering with the responses of macrophages to the interdependent VEGF and TGFβ1 signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC3987071  PMID: 24421272
Angiogenesis; galectin-3; melanoma; tumor microenvironment
8.  Galectin-3 Regulates the Innate Immune Response of Human Monocytes 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;207(6):947-956.
Galectin-3 is a β-galactoside–binding lectin widely expressed on epithelial and hematopoietic cells, and its expression is frequently associated with a poor prognosis in cancer. Because it has not been well-studied in human infectious disease, we examined galectin-3 expression in mycobacterial infection by studying leprosy, an intracellular infection caused by Mycobacterium leprae. Galectin-3 was highly expressed on macrophages in lesions of patients with the clinically progressive lepromatous form of leprosy; in contrast, galectin-3 was almost undetectable in self-limited tuberculoid lesions. We investigated the potential function of galectin-3 in cell-mediated immunity using peripheral blood monocytes. Galectin-3 enhanced monocyte interleukin 10 production to a TLR2/1 ligand, whereas interleukin 12p40 secretion was unaffected. Furthermore, galectin-3 diminished monocyte to dendritic cell differentiation and T-cell antigen presentation. These data demonstrate an association of galectin-3 with unfavorable host response in leprosy and a potential mechanism for impaired host defense in humans.
PMCID: PMC3571442  PMID: 23255567
human; bacterial infections; galectin-3; monocytes/macrophages; TLR2
9.  Therapeutic effect of CTLA4-Ig on a murine model of primary biliary cirrhosis 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2013;57(2):708-715.
Collectively, the data in both humans and murine models of human primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) suggest that activated T cells, particularly CD8 T cells, play a critical role in biliary cell destruction. Under physiological conditions, T cell activation involves two critical signals that involve the MHC and a set of co-stimulatory molecules which include a receptor on T cells coined cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4). Germane to the studies reported herein, signaling via CTLA-4 has the potential to modulate co-stimulation and induce inhibitory signals. In this study we have taken advantage of our well-defined murine model of PBC in which mice are immunized with 2-octynoic acid coupled to BSA, leading to the production of high titer anti-mitochondrial autoantibodies and portal cellular infiltrates. To investigate the potential of CTLA-4 Ig as an immunotherapeutic agent, we treated mice both before and after induction of autoimmune cholangitis. Firstly, we demonstrate that CTLA-4 Ig treatment begun one day before 2-OA-BSA immunization, completely inhibits the manifestations of cholangitis, including AMA production, intra-hepatic T cell infiltrates and bile duct damage. However, and more critically, treatment with CTLA-4 Ig initiated after the development of autoimmune cholangitis in previously immunized mice, also resulted in significant therapeutic benefit, including reduced intra-hepatic T cell infiltrates and biliary cell damage, although AMA levels were not altered. These data suggest that an optimized regimen with CTLA-4 Ig has the potential to serve as an investigative therapeutic tool in patients with PBC.
PMCID: PMC3548049  PMID: 22996325
Primary biliary cirrhosis; cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4; Abatacept autoimmunity; cholangitis
10.  Comparative transcriptomic analyses of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis reveal shared neutrophilic inflammation 
Atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are common inflammatory diseases, canonically described as involving distinct T-helper polarization and granulocytic infiltration. Acute atopic dermatitis lesions are associated with TH2 and eosinophilic inflammation, while psoriasis lesions are associated with TH1/17 and neutrophilic inflammation. Despite intensive investigation, these pathways remain incompletely understood in vivo in human subjects.
Using atopic dermatitis and psoriasis lesional skin as exemplar TH2 and TH1/17 diseased tissue, we sought to clarify common and unique molecular and pathophysiologic features in inflamed skin with different types of inflammatory polarization.
We conducted gene expression microarray analyses to identify distinct and commonly dysregulated expression in atopic dermatitis (by Hanifin & Rajka criteria) and psoriasis lesions. We defined gene sets comprising genes encoding cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors that were uniquely or jointly dysregulated in atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, and calculated aggregate gene set expression scores for lesional skin of these dermatoses and healthy control skin.
The atopic dermatitis gene set score correlated with systemic and local measures of allergic inflammation including serum IgE, blood eosinophil count, and tissue eosinophils. Unexpectedly, genes encoding neutrophil chemoattractants among the common gene set were highly expressed in atopic dermatitis lesional skin. H&E and immunohistochemical analyses showed the numbers of neutrophils in atopic dermatitis lesional skin were comparable to those in psoriasis lesional skin, and both were correlated with the extent of expression of neutrophil chemoattractant genes.
These data are evidence that neutrophilic inflammation is a feature of lesional atopic dermatitis pathology, comorbid with allergic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3511596  PMID: 22920495
Atopic dermatitis; psoriasis; TH2; TH17; gene expression microarray; neutrophil; eosinophil
11.  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.
PMCID: PMC3617360  PMID: 23576987
eosinophils; galectin-3; allergic airway inflammation; cell trafficking; migration
12.  Engineered Nanostructures of Antigen Provide an Effective Means for Regulating Mast Cell Activation 
ACS nano  2011;5(11):8672-8683.
Nanostructures containing 2,4-Dinitrophenyl (DNP) as antigen were designed and produced to investigate antibody-mediated activation of mast cells. The design consists of nanogrids of DNP termini inlaid in alkanethiol self-assembled monolayers (SAMs). Using scanning probe-based nanografting, nanometer precision was attained for designed geometry, size and periodicity. Rat basophilic leukemia (RBL) cells exhibited high sensitivity to the geometry and local environment of DNP presented on these nanostructures. The impact included cellular adherence, spreading, membrane morphology, cytoskeleton structure, and activation. The highest level of spreading and activation was induced by nanogrids of 17 nm line width and 40 nm periodicity, with DNP haptens 1.4 nm above the surroundings. The high efficacy is attributed to two main factors. First, DNP sites in the nanostructure are highly accessible by anti-DNP-IgE during recognition. Second, the arrangement or geometry of DNP termini in nanostructures promotes clustering of FcεRI receptors that are pre-linked to IgE. The clustering effectively initiates Lyn-mediated signaling cascades, ultimately leading to the degranulation of RBL cells. This work demonstrates an important concept, that nanostructures of ligands provide new and effective cues for directing cellular signaling processes.
PMCID: PMC3228856  PMID: 21999491
atomic force microscopy; engineered nanostructures; self-assembled monolayers; mast cells; antibody-mediated activation; nanografting
13.  The ESCRT Machinery Is Recruited by the Viral BFRF1 Protein to the Nucleus-Associated Membrane for the Maturation of Epstein-Barr Virus 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(9):e1002904.
The cellular endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery participates in membrane scission and cytoplasmic budding of many RNA viruses. Here, we found that expression of dominant negative ESCRT proteins caused a blockade of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) release and retention of viral BFRF1 at the nuclear envelope. The ESCRT adaptor protein Alix was redistributed and partially colocalized with BFRF1 at the nuclear rim of virus replicating cells. Following transient transfection, BFRF1 associated with ESCRT proteins, reorganized the nuclear membrane and induced perinuclear vesicle formation. Multiple domains within BFRF1 mediated vesicle formation and Alix recruitment, whereas both Bro and PRR domains of Alix interacted with BFRF1. Inhibition of ESCRT machinery abolished BFRF1-induced vesicle formation, leading to the accumulation of viral DNA and capsid proteins in the nucleus of EBV-replicating cells. Overall, data here suggest that BFRF1 recruits the ESCRT components to modulate nuclear envelope for the nuclear egress of EBV.
Author Summary
Herpesviruses are large DNA viruses associated with human and animal diseases. After viral DNA replication, the herpesviral nucleocapsids egress through the nuclear membrane for subsequent cytoplasmic virion maturation. However, the mechanism by which the virus regulates the nuclear membrane and cellular machinery involved in this process remained elusive. The cellular endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery is known to participate in the biogenesis of multivesicular bodies, cytokinesis and the release of enveloped viruses from cytoplasmic membranes. Here, we show that functional ESCRT machinery is required for the maturation of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). ESCRT proteins are redistributed close to the nucleus-associated membrane through interaction with the viral BFRF1 protein, leading to vesicle formation and structural changes of the nuclear membrane. Remarkably, inhibition of ESCRT machinery abolishes BFRF1-induced vesicle formation, and leads to the accumulation of viral DNA and capsid proteins in the nucleus. Specific interactions between BFRF1 and Alix are required for BFRF1-derived vesicle formation and crucial for the nuclear egress of EBV.
PMCID: PMC3435242  PMID: 22969426
14.  Deletion of galectin-3 exacerbates microglial activation and accelerates disease progression and demise in a SOD1G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 
Brain and Behavior  2012;2(5):563-575.
Galectins are pleiotropic carbohydrate-binding lectins involved in inflammation, growth/differentiation, and tissue remodeling. The functional role of galectins in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is unknown. Expression studies revealed increases in galectin-1 mRNA and protein in spinal cords from SOD1G93A mice, and in galectin-3 and -9 mRNAs and proteins in spinal cords of both SOD1G93A mice and sporadic ALS patients. As the increase in galectin-3 appeared in early presymptomatic stages and increased progressively through to end stage of disease in the mouse, it was selected for additional study, where it was found to be mainly expressed by microglia. Galectin-3 antagonists are not selective and do not readily cross the blood–brain barrier; therefore, we generated SOD1G93A/Gal-3−/− transgenic mice to evaluate galectin-3 deletion in a widely used mouse model of ALS. Disease progression, neurological symptoms, survival, and inflammation were assessed to determine the effect of galectin-3 deletion on the SOD1G93A disease phenotype. Galectin-3 deletion did not change disease onset, but resulted in more rapid progression through functionally defined disease stages, more severely impaired neurological symptoms at all stages of disease, and expiration, on average, 25 days earlier than SOD1G93A/Gal-3+/+ cohorts. In addition, microglial staining, as well as TNF-α, and oxidative injury were increased in SOD1G93A/Gal-3−/− mice compared with SOD1G93A/Gal-3+/+ cohorts. These data support an important functional role for microglial galectin-3 in neuroinflammation during chronic neurodegenerative disease. We suggest that elevations in galectin-3 by microglia as disease progresses may represent a protective, anti-inflammatory innate immune response to chronic motor neuron degeneration.
PMCID: PMC3489809  PMID: 23139902
Alternative activation; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; microglia; motor neuron disease; SOD1
15.  The inactive form of glycogen synthase kinase-3β is associated with the development of carcinomas in galectin-3 wild-type mice, but not in galectin-3-deficient mice 
Galectin-3 has been implicated in the tumor development via its mediation of the Wnt signaling pathway. Likewise, glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK3β) also plays a role in the Wnt signaling pathway by controlling the levels of cytoplasmic beta-catenin. Altered GSK3β expression has been described in various tumors, but to date, there are no studies evaluating its expression in models of oral carcinogenesis. Additionally, it is unknown whether the absence of galectin-3 regulates the expression of GSK3β. To this end, Gal3-deficient (Gal3-/-) and wild-type (Gal3+/+) male mice were treated with 4NQO for 16 weeks and sacrificed at week 16 and 32. The tongues were removed, processed, and stained with H&E to detect dysplasias and carcinomas. An immunohistochemical assay was performed to determine the level of P-GSK3β-Ser9 expression in both groups. Carcinomas were more prevalent in Gal3+/+ than Gal3-/- mice (55.5% vs. 28.5%), but no statistical difference was reached. In the dysplasias, the proportion of cells positive for P-GSK3β-Ser9 was slightly higher in Gal3+/+ than Gal3-/- mice (63% vs. 61%). In the carcinomas, a significant difference between Gal3+/+ and Gal3-/- mice was found (74% vs. 59%; p=0.02). P-GSK3β-Ser9-positive cells slightly decreased from the progression of dysplasias to carcinomas in Gal3-/- mice (61% vs. 59%; p>0.05). However, a significant increase in P-GSK3β-Ser9 expression was observed from dysplasias to carcinomas in Gal3+/+ mice (63% vs. 74%; p=0.01). In conclusion, these findings suggest that fully malignant transformation of the tongue epithelium is associated with increased P-GSK3β-Ser9 expression in Gal3+/+ mice, but not in Gal3-/- mice.
PMCID: PMC3430103  PMID: 22949937
Oral carcinogenesis; immunohistochemistry; galectin-3; P-GSK3β-Ser9; tongue; mice
16.  Galectin-12 
Adipocyte  2012;1(2):96-100.
Galectin-12, a member of the galectin family of animal lectins, is preferentially expressed in adipocytes. We recently reported that this galectin is localized on lipid droplets, specialized organelles for fat storage. Galectin-12 regulates lipid degradation (lipolysis) by modulating lipolytic protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. Mice deficient in galectin-12 exhibit enhanced adipocyte lipolysis, increased mitochondria respiration, reduced adiposity and ameliorated insulin resistance associated with weight gain. The results suggest that galectin-12 may be a useful target for treatment of obesity-related metabolic conditions, such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Most previously described galectins largely reside in the cytosol, although they can also be induced to become associated with membrane-containing structures. Along with an in-depth characterization of galectin-12, this mini-review comments on this first report of a galectin normally localized specifically in an organelle that performs an important intracellular function. Further studies will help shed light on how this protein regulates cellular homeostasis, especially energy homeostasis, and provide additional insight into the intracellular functions of galectins.
PMCID: PMC3609087  PMID: 23700518
adipocyte; adipose tissue; galectin; galectin-12; insulin sensitivity; lipid metabolism; lipolysis
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2010;53(2):527-535.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is considered a model autoimmune disease due to the clinical homogeneity of patients and the classic hallmark of anti-mitochondrial antibodies (AMAS). Indeed, the presence of AMAS is the most highly directed and specific autoantibody in autoimmune diseases. However, the contribution of B cells to the pathogenesis of PBC is unclear. Thus, although AMAs appear to interact with the biliary cell apotope and contribute to biliary pathology, there is no correlation of disease severity and titer of AMA. The recent development of well characterized mAbs specific for the B cell populations, anti-CD20 and anti-CD79, and the development of a well defined xenobiotic induced model of autoimmune cholangitis, prompted us to utilize these reagents and the model to address the contribution of B cells in the pathogenesis of murine PBC. Prior to the induction of autoimmune cholangitis, mice were treated with either anti-CD20, anti-CD79, or isotype matched control mAb and followed for B cell development, the appearance of AMAs, liver pathology and cytokine production. Results of the studies reported herein show that the in vivo depletion of B cells using either anti-CD20 or anti-CD79 led to the development of a more severe form of cholangitis than control mice which is in contrast with results from a number of other autoimmune models which have documented an important therapeutic role of B cell specific depletion. The anti-CD20/CD79 treated mice have increased liver T cell infiltrates and higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In conclusion, our results reflect a novel disease protective role of B cells in PBC and suggest that B cell depletion therapy in humans with PBC should be approached with caution.
PMCID: PMC3058242  PMID: 21274873
18.  The Promigratory Activity of the Matricellular Protein Galectin-3 Depends on the Activation of PI-3 Kinase 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e29313.
Expression of galectin-3 is associated with sarcoma progression, invasion and metastasis. Here we determined the role of extracellular galectin-3 on migration of sarcoma cells on laminin-111. Cell lines from methylcholanthrene-induced sarcomas from both wild type and galectin-3−/− mice were established. Despite the presence of similar levels of laminin-binding integrins on the cell surface, galectin-3−/− sarcoma cells were more adherent and less migratory than galectin-3+/+ sarcoma cells on laminin-111. When galectin-3 was transiently expressed in galectin-3−/− sarcoma cells, it inhibited cell adhesion and stimulated the migratory response to laminin in a carbohydrate-dependent manner. Extracellular galectin-3 led to the recruitment of SHP-2 phosphatase to focal adhesion plaques, followed by a decrease in the amount of phosphorylated FAK and phospho-paxillin in the lamellipodia of migrating cells. The promigratory activity of extracellular galectin-3 was inhibitable by wortmannin, implicating the activation of a PI-3 kinase dependent pathway in the galectin-3 triggered disruption of adhesion plaques, leading to sarcoma cell migration on laminin-111.
PMCID: PMC3247242  PMID: 22216245
19.  LPS-Induced Galectin-3 Oligomerization Results in Enhancement of Neutrophil Activation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26004.
Galectin-3 (Gal 3) is a glycan-binding protein that can be secreted by activated macrophages and mast cells at inflammation sites and plays an important role in inflammatory diseases caused by Bacteria and their products, such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Although it is well established that Gal 3 can interact with LPS, the pathophysiological importance of LPS/Gal 3 interactions is not fully understood. Data presented herein demonstrate for the first time that the interaction of Gal 3, either via its carbohydrate binding C-terminal domain or via its N-terminal part, with LPS from different bacterial strains, enhances the LPS-mediated neutrophil activation in vitro. Gal 3 allowed low LPS concentrations (1 µg/mL without serum, 1 ng/mL with serum) to upregulate CD11b expression and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation on human neutrophils in vitro and drastically enhanced the binding efficiency of LPS to the neutrophil surface. These effects required LPS preincubation with Gal 3, before neutrophil stimulation and involved specific Gal 3/LPS interaction. A C-terminal Gal-3 fragment, which retains the lectin domain but lacks the N-terminal part, was still able to bind both to Escherichia coli LPS and to neutrophils, but had lost the ability to enhance neutrophil response to LPS. This result emphasizes the importance of an N-terminus-mediated Gal 3 oligomerization induced by its interaction with LPS. Finally we demonstrated that Balb/C mice were more susceptible to LPS-mediated shock when LPS was pretreated with Gal 3. Altogether, these results suggest that multimeric interactions between Gal 3 oligomers and LPS potentiate its pro-inflammatory effects on neutrophils.
PMCID: PMC3198732  PMID: 22031821
20.  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
21.  Lack of Galectin-3 Disturbs Mesenteric Lymph Node Homeostasis and B Cell Niches in the Course of Schistosoma mansoni Infection 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19216.
Galectin-3 is a β-galactoside-binding protein that has been shown to regulate pathophysiological processes, including cellular activation, differentiation and apoptosis. Recently, we showed that galectin-3 acts as a potent inhibitor of B cell differentiation into plasma cells. Here, we have investigated whether galectin-3 interferes with the lymphoid organization of B cell compartments in mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs) during chronic schistosomiasis, using WT and galectin-3-/- mice. Schistosoma mansoni synthesizes GalNAcβ1-4(Fucα1-3)GlcNAc(Lac-DiNAc) structures (N-acetylgalactosamine β1-4 N-acetylglucosamine), which are known to interact with galectin-3 and elicit an intense humoral response. Antigens derived from the eggs and adult worms are continuously drained to MLNs and induce a polyclonal B cell activation. In the present work, we observed that chronically-infected galectin-3-/- mice exhibited a significant reduced amount of macrophages and B lymphocytes followed by drastic histological changes in B lymphocyte and plasma cell niches in the MLNs. The lack of galectin-3 favored an increase in the lymphoid follicle number, but made follicular cells more susceptible to apoptotic stimuli. There were an excessive quantity of apoptotic bodies, higher number of annexin V+/PI- cells, and reduced clearance of follicular apoptotic cells in the course of schistosomiasis. Here, we observed that galectin-3 was expressed in non-lymphoid follicular cells and its absence was associated with severe damage to tissue architecture. Thus, we convey new information on the role of galectin-3 in regulation of histological events associated with B lymphocyte and plasma cell niches, apoptosis, phagocytosis and cell cycle properties in the MLNs of mice challenged with S.mansoni.
PMCID: PMC3089595  PMID: 21573150
22.  Galectin-3 is an important mediator of VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenic response 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(9):1981-1993.
Recent studies have shown that a carbohydrate-binding protein, galectin-3, is a novel pro-angiogenic molecule. The mechanism by which galectin-3 promotes angiogenesis remains unknown. We demonstrate here that galectin-3 is a mediator of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)- and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)-mediated angiogenic response. Angiogenesis assays revealed that galectin-3 inhibitors, β-lactose and dominant-negative galectin-3, reduce VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenesis in vitro and that VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenic response is reduced in galectin-3 knockdown cells and Gal3−/− animals. Integrin αvβ3 was identified as the major galectin-3–binding protein and anti-αv, -β3, and -αvβ3 integrin function-blocking antibodies significantly inhibited the galectin-3–induced angiogenesis. Furthermore, galectin-3 promoted the clustering of integrin αvβ3 and activated focal adhesion kinase. Knockdown of GnTV, an enzyme that synthesizes high-affinity glycan ligands for galectin-3, substantially reduced: (a) complex N-glycans on αvβ3 integrins and (b) VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenesis. Collectively, these data suggest that galectin-3 modulates VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenesis by binding via its carbohydrate recognition domain, to the GnTV synthesized N-glycans of integrin αvβ3, and subsequently activating the signaling pathways that promote the growth of new blood vessels. These findings have broad implications for developing novel, carbohydrate-based therapeutic agents for inhibition of angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2931172  PMID: 20713592
23.  The antigen presentation function of bone marrow-derived mast cells is spatiotemporally restricted to a subset expressing high levels of cell surface FcεRI and MHC II 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:34.
At present, it is highly controversial whether pure mast cells can serve as antigen presenting cells, and it is not known whether the capacity of antigen presenting function is temporally restricted to a particular subset of differentiated mast cells. Evidence is presented for a novel surface FcεRIhi , MHC II +, and c-kit + pure mast cell subset, temporally restricted as antigen-presenting cells in the immune axis of T-cell activation.
Bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMC) cultured in the presence of IL-3 for three weeks are pure mast cells based on surface expression of lineage-specific marker, c-kit and FcεRI. Herein we present the first demonstration that approximately 98.7% c-kit + and FcεRI expressing BMMC, further depleted of any contaminated professional antigen-presenting cells, are still fully capable of presenting antigens, i.e., OVA protein, OVA peptide, and IgE-TNP-OVA, to OVA peptide-specific T-cell hybridomas. Notably, IgE-dependent antigen presentation is more efficient compared to that resulting from direct antigen uptake. Importantly, we present the novel finding that only surface FcεRIhi mast cells, also expressing surface MHC II exhibited antigen-presenting function. In contrast, surface FcεRIlo mast cells without expressing surface MHC II were not capable of antigen presentation. Interestingly, the antigen-presenting function of BMMC was irrevocably lost during the third and fourth week in IL-3 or SCF containing cultures.
This is the first observation to attribute a spatiotemporally restricted antigen-presenting function to a subset of three-week old pure BMMC expressing both high levels of surface FcεRI and surface MHC II. We propose that mast cells play an important role in immune deviating and/or sustaining the activation of infiltrating CD4 T-cells, and modulating T-cell mediated allergic inflammation via its flexibility to present antigens and antigen-IgE complexes.
PMCID: PMC2904267  PMID: 20591187
24.  Ablation of type I hypersensitivity in experimental allergic conjunctivitis by eotaxin-1/CCR3 blockade 
International Immunology  2009;21(2):187-201.
The immune response is regulated, in part, by effector cells whose activation requires multiple signals. For example, T cells require signals emanating from the T cell antigen receptor and co-stimulatory molecules for full activation. Here, we present evidence indicating that IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions in vivo also require cognate signals to activate mast cells. Immediate hypersensitivity reactions in the conjunctiva are ablated in mice deficient in eotaxin-1, despite normal numbers of tissue mast cells and levels of IgE. To further define the co-stimulatory signals mediated by chemokine receptor 3 (CCR3), an eotaxin-1 receptor, effects of CCR3 blockade were tested with an allergic conjunctivitis model and in ex vivo isolated connective tissue-type mast cells. Our results show that CCR3 blockade significantly suppresses allergen-mediated hypersensitivity reactions as well as IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation. We propose that a co-stimulatory axis by CCR3, mainly stimulated by eotaxin-1, is pivotal in mast cell-mediated hypersensitivity reactions.
PMCID: PMC2638875  PMID: 19147836
mast cell
25.  Endogenous Galectin-3 Is Localized in Membrane Lipid Rafts and Regulates Migration of Dendritic Cells 
This study reveals a function of endogenous galectin-3, an animal lectin recognizing β-galactosides, in regulating dendritic cell motility both in vitroand in vivo,which to our knowledge is unreported. First, galectin-3-deficient (gal3−/−) bone marrow-derived dendritic cells exhibited defective chemotaxis compared to gal3+/+ cells. Second, cutaneous dendritic cells in gal3−/− mice displayed reduced migration to draining lymph nodes upon hapten stimulation compared to gal3+/+ mice. Moreover, gal3−/− mice were impaired in the development of contact hypersensitivity relative to gal3+/+ mice in response to a hapten, a process in which dendritic cell trafficking to lymph nodes is critical. In addition, defective signaling was detected in gal3−/− cells upon chemokine receptor activation. By immunofluorescence microscopy, we observed that galectin-3 is localized in membrane ruffles and lamellipodia in stimulated dendritic cells and macrophages. Furthermore, galectin-3 was enriched in lipid raft domains under these conditions. Finally, we determined that ruffles on gal3−/− cells contained structures with lower complexity compared to gal3+/+ cells. In view of the participation of membrane ruffles in signal transduction and cell motility, we conclude that galectin-3 regulates cell migration by functioning at these structures.
PMCID: PMC2645233  PMID: 18843294

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