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FASEB J. 2011 Jan;25(1):242-54. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-144907. Epub 2010 Sep 27.

Modulation of endothelial cell migration and angiogenesis: a novel function for the "tandem-repeat" lectin galectin-8.

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Instituto de Química y Fisicoquímica Biológicas (UBA-CONICET), Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Junín 956 (C1113), Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Angiogenesis, the growth of new capillaries from preexisting blood vessels, is a complex process involving endothelial cell (EC) activation, disruption of vascular basement membranes, and migration and proliferation of ECs. Glycan-mediated recognition has been proposed to play an instrumental role in mediating cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. Galectins (Gal), a family of glycan-binding proteins with affinity for β-galactosides and a conserved sequence motif, can decipher glycan-containing information and mediate cell-cell communication. Galectin-8 (Gal-8), a member of this family, is a bivalent "tandem-repeat"-type galectin, which possesses 2 CRDs connected by a linker peptide. Here, we show that Gal-8 is endowed with proangiogeneic properties. Functional assays revealed a critical role for this lectin in the regulation of capillary-tube formation and EC migration. Moreover, Matrigel, either supplemented with Gal-8 or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), injected in mice resulted in induction of in vivo angiogenesis. Remarkably, Gal-8 was expressed both in the cytoplasm and nucleus in ECs of normal and tumor vessels. Furthermore, CD166 [activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM)] was identified as a specific Gal-8-binding partner in normal vascular ECs. Collectively, these data provide the first evidence demonstrating an essential role for Gal-8 in the regulation of angiogenesis with critical implications in tumor biology.

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