Galectin-3 regulates a molecular switch from N-Ras to K-Ras usage in human breast carcinoma cells

  • Shalom-Feuerstein R
  • Cooks T
  • Raz A
 et al. 
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Galectin-3 (Gal-3), a pleiotropic carbohydrate-binding protein, is a selective binding partner of activated K-Ras-GTP. Because both proteins are antiapoptotic and associated with cancer progression, we questioned the possible functional role of Gal-3 in K-Ras activation. We found that overexpression of Gal-3 in human breast cancer cells (BT-549/Gal-3) coincided with a significant increase in wild-type (wt) K-Ras-GTP coupled with loss in wt N-Ras-GTP, whereas the nononcogenic Gal-3 mutant proteins [Gal-3(S6E) and Gal-3(G182A)] failed to induce the Ras isoform switch. Only wt Gal-3 protein coimmunoprecipitated and colocalized with oncogenic K-Ras, resulting in its activation with radical alterations in Ras signaling pathway, whereby the activation of AKT and Ral was suppressed and shifted to the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Specific inhibitors for Ras or mitogen-activated protein/ERK kinase (farnesylthiosalicylic acid and UO126, respectively) inhibited Gal-3-mediated apoptotic resistance and anchorage-independent growth functions. In conclusion, this study shows that Gal-3 confers on BT-549 human breast carcinoma cells several oncogenic functions by binding to and activation of wt K-Ras, suggesting that some of the molecular functions of Gal-3 are, at least in part, a result of K-Ras activation.

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  • Ruby Shalom-Feuerstein

  • Tomer Cooks

  • Avraham Raz

  • Yoel Kloog

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