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Cancer Res. 1997 Dec 1;57(23):5272-6.

Galectin-3: a novel antiapoptotic molecule with a functional BH1 (NWGR) domain of Bcl-2 family.

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  • 1Tumor Progression and Metastasis Program, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Galectin-3, a beta-galactoside-binding protein, has been shown to be involved in tumor progression and metastasis. Here, we demonstrate that expression of galectin-3 in human breast carcinoma BT549 cells inhibits cis-diamminedichloroplatinum (cisplatin)-induced poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase degradation and apoptosis, without altering Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), or Bax expressions. Galectin-3 contains the NWGR amino acid sequence highly conserved in the BH1 domain of the bcl-2 gene family, and a substitution of glycine to alanine in this motif abrogated its antiapoptotic activity. Our findings demonstrate that galectin-3 inhibits apoptosis through a cysteine protease pathway and highlight the functional significance of the NWGR motif in apoptosis resistance of a non-Bcl-2 protein.

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