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Cancer Res. 1995 May 15;55(10):2191-9.

Carcinoembryonic antigen and other glycoconjugates act as ligands for galectin-3 in human colon carcinoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Tumor Biology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Galectin-1 and galectin-3, galactoside-binding lectins with molecular weights of M(r) 14,500 and 31,000, respectively, are expressed in normal and malignant cells and have been implicated in regulation of cell growth, adhesion, and metastasis. We analyzed the expression of galectins in 21 cultured human colon carcinoma cell lines by immunoblotting. Galectin-1 was detected in only 7, whereas galectin-3 was found in 20 of the cell lines. KM12 cells, which express only galectin-3, were used to isolate this lectin by affinity chromatography, and the purified lectin was used to identify complementary glycoconjugates by blotting. Galectin-3 was shown to bind to human laminin, carcinoembryonic antigen, and lysosome-associated membrane glycoproteins, which are involved in cell adhesion. Galectin-3 was localized on the KM12 cell surface and colocalized with carcinoembryonic antigen. Several endogenous glycoproteins and cell surface proteins of molecular weights in the range M(r) 58,000 to > 200,000, including carcinoembryonic antigen and lysosome-associated membrane glycoproteins, were identified as galectin-3 ligands by coimmunoprecipitation with and affinity chromatography on immobilized galectin-3. These data demonstrate that galectin-3 interacts with several adhesion molecules and suggest that this lectin may have a role in human colon carcinoma cell adhesion.

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