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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44400. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044400. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Galectin-8 promotes cytoskeletal rearrangement in trabecular meshwork cells through activation of Rho signaling.

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Program in Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.



The trabecular meshwork (TM) 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. The current study was designed to evaluate the role of a carbohydrate-binding protein, galectin-8 (Gal8), in TM cell adhesion and Rho signaling.


Normal human TM cells were assayed for Gal8 expression by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. To assess the role of Gal8 in TM cell adhesion and Rho signaling, the cell adhesion and spreading assays were performed on Gal8-coated culture plates in the presence and the absence of anti-β₁ integrin antibody and Rho and Rho-kinase inhibitors. In addition, the effect of Gal8-mediated cell-matrix interactions on TM cell cytoskeleton arrangement and myosin light chain 2 (MLC2) phosphorylation was examined.


We demonstrate here that Gal8 is expressed in the TM and a function-blocking anti-β₁ integrin antibody inhibits the adhesion and spreading of TM cells to Gal8-coated wells. Cell spreading on Gal8 substratum was associated with the accumulation of phosphorylated myosin light chain and the formation of stress fibers that was inhibited by the Rho inhibitor, C3 transferase, as well as by the Rho-kinase inhibitor, Y27632.


The above findings present a novel function for Gal8 in activating Rho signaling in TM cells. This function may allow Gal8 to participate in the regulation of aqueous outflow.

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