Analysis of galectin expression and identification of endogenous ligands in a human colon carcinoma cell line

David William Ohannesian, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The 14.5 kDa (galectin-1) and 31 kDa (galectin-3) lectins are the most well characterized members of a family of vertebrate carbohydrate-binding proteins known as the galectins. Evidence has been obtained implicating these galectins in events as diverse as cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions, growth regulation, transformation, differentiation, and programmed cell death. In the present study, sodium butyrate was found to be a potent inducer of galectin-1 in the KM12 human colon carcinoma cell line. Prior to treatment with butyrate this cell line expresses only galectin-3. These cells were utilized as an in vitro model system to study galectin expression as well as that of their endogenous ligands. The initial phase of this project involved the examination of the induction of galectin-1 by butyrate at the protein level. These studies indicated that galectin-1 induction by butyrate was relatively rapid reaching nearly maximal levels after only 24 hours. Additionally, the induction was found to be reversible upon the removal of butyrate and to precede the increase in expression of the well characterized differentiation marker, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). The second phase of this project involved the characterization of potential glycoprotein ligands for galectin-1 and galectin-3. This work demonstrated that the polylactosaminoglycan-containing glycoproteins laminin, CEA, and the lysosome-associated glycoproteins-1 and -2 (LAMPs-1 and -2) are capable of serving as ligands for both galectin-1 and -3. The third phase of this project involved the analysis of the induction of the galectin-1 promoter by butyrate. Through the analysis of deletion constructs transiently transfected into KM12 cells, the region of the galectin-1 promoter mediating a high level of induction by butyrate was localized primarily within a proximal portion of the promoter containing a CCAAT element and an Sp1 binding site. The CCAAT-binding activity in the KM12 nuclear extracts was subsequently dentified as NF-Y by gel shift analysis. These studies suggest that: (1) the galectins may be involved in modulating adhesive interactions in human colon carcinoma cells through the binding of several polylactosaminoglycans shown to play a role in adhesion and (2) high level induction of the galectin-1 promoter by butyrate can proceed through a discreet, proximal element containing an NF-Y-binding CCAAT box and an Sp1 site.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Ohannesian, David William, "Analysis of galectin expression and identification of endogenous ligands in a human colon carcinoma cell line" (1994). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9514314.