Reconstitution of galectin-3 alters glutathione content and potentiates TRAIL-induced cytotoxicity by dephosphorylation of Akt.


We investigated the role of galectin-3 in tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptotic death in human breast carcinoma BT549 cells. We observed that parental galectin-3 null BT549 cells (BT549(par)) as well as control vector transfected (BT549(neo)) cells were resistant to TRAIL, while galectin-3 cDNA-transfected BT549 cells (BT549(gal-3)) were sensitive to TRAIL. Data from flow cytometry and immunoblotting analyses reveal that reconstitution of galectin-3 promoted cell death and PARP cleavage as well as caspase (-8, -9, and -3) activation during TRAIL treatment. However, unlike TRAIL treatment, galectin-3 transfectants were resistant to UV-B-induced PARP cleavage. Data from cDNA array analysis show that galectin-3 did not significantly enhance or reduce any apoptosis-related gene expression. Moreover, although galectin-3 restored pre-mRNA splicing activity and resulted in elevation of FLIPs protein, experiments with FLIPs cDNA-transfected cells show that overexpression of FLIPs did not sensitize cells to TRAIL. Interestingly, BT549(gal-3) cells demonstrated a approximately 2-fold increase in total glutathione content as well as a approximately 5-fold increase in GSSG content in comparison to BT549(par) and BT549(neo) cells, suggesting that galectin-3 overexpression may alter intraceullular oxidation/reduction reactions affecting the metabolism of glutathione and other thiols. In addition, galectin-3 overexpression inactivated Akt by dephosphorylation. Finally, overexpression of constitutively activated Akt protected BT549(gal-3) cells from TRAIL-induced cytotoxicity. Taken together, our data suggest that galectin-3-enhanced TRAIL-induced cytotoxicity is mediated through dephosphorylation of Akt, possibly through a redox-dependent process.

  • Kim HR
  • Kim JH
  • Lee YJ
  • Li L
  • Lokshin A
  • Siervo-Sassi RR
  • Song JJ
  • Song YK
  • Spitz DR
PubMed ID
Appears In
Exp Cell Res, 2003, 288 (1)