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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28514. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028514. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

Galectin-1 is part of human trophoblast invasion machinery--a functional study in vitro.

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Laboratory for Biology of Reproduction, Institute INEP, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.



Interactions of glycoconjugates with endogenous galectins, have been long proposed to participate in several reproductive processes including implantation. In human placenta gal-1, gal-3, gal-8, and gal-13 proteins are known to be present. Each of them has been proposed to play multiple functions, but so far no clear picture has emerged. We hypothesized that gal-1 participates in trophoblast invasion, and conducted Matrigel invasion assay using isolated cytotrophoblast from first trimester placenta and HTR-8/SVneo cell line to test it.


Function blocking anti-gal-1 antibody was employed to assess participation of endogenous gal-1 in cell adhesion, cell invasion of HTR-8/SVneo cells. When gal-1 was blocked in isolated trophoblast cell invasion was reduced to 75% of control (SEM ± 6.3, P<0.001) and to 66% of control (SEM ± 1.7, P<0.001) in HTR-8/SVneo cell line. Increased availability of gal-1, as two molecular forms of recombinant human gal-1 (CS-gal-1 and Ox-gal-1), resulted in increased cell invasion by cytotrophoblast to 151% (SEM ± 16, P<0.01) with 1 ng/ml of CS-gal-1, and to 192% (SEM ± 51, P<0.05) with 1 µg/ml of Ox-gal-1. Stimulation was also observed in HTR-8/SVneo cells, to 317% (SEM ± 58, P<0.001) by CS-gal-1, and to 200% (SEM ± 24, P<0.001) by Ox-gal-1 at 1 µg/ml. Both sets of results confirmed involvement of gal-1 in trophoblast invasion. Galectin profile of isolated cytotrophoblast and HTR-8/SVneo cells was established using RT-PCR and real-time PCR and found to consist of gal-1, gal-3 and gal-8 for both cell types. Only gal-1 was located at the trophoblast cell membrane, as determined by FACS analysis, which is consistent with the results of the functional tests.


These findings qualify gal-1 as a member of human trophoblast cell invasion machinery.

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