Galectin-3 coats the membrane of breast cells and makes a signature of tumours

Giuseppina Simone, Natalia Maria Malara, Valentina Trunzo, Maria Renne, Gerardo Perozziello, Enzo M. Di Fabrizio, Andreas Manz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Galectin-3, β-galactoside-binding lectin, coats the membrane of most cancer cells and is involved in metastasis and endothelium recognition as well as in evading immune surveillance through killing of activated T cells. To flag galectin as a biomarker of tumours and metastasis, it is pivotal to understand the role of this protein in different tumours and at different stages. Breast tumours have an anomalous behaviour of the galectin-3 compared to other tumour cells. Herein, FACS sorting and galactoside based assays were used to investigate the role of galectin-3 in metastasis and metastatisation of breast cancer cells. Breast galectin fingerprint at the FACS displayed a higher amount in healthy cells, compared to metastatic cells. The microfluidic assay was able to isolate tumour and metastatic cells more than healthy breast cells. Investigation was performed on samples from patients with breast tumours at stage I and stage III whilst MCF7 and EPH-4 cells were used to perform preliminary investigations. The readout of the conditioned medium (from culturing of stage I cells) fingerprint by FACS evidenced high expression of free galectin. Analysis of the results established that the galectin coating the membrane, by galactoside recognition of the breast cells, and engaged by the cells to form protein-carbohydrate complexes inside the microfluidic assay, resembled the tumour signature of tumours in breast cells whilst the galectin free is independent of those mechanisms. © 2014 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalMol. BioSyst.
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was partially supported by the project PON "Nuove strategie nanotecnologiche per la messa a punto di farmaci e presidi diagnostici diretti verso cellule cancerose circolanti.'' (cod. PON01_02782, CUP B71H11000870005), and the project FIRB "Rete Nazionale di Ricerca sulle Nanoscienze ItalNanoNet'' (cod. RBPR05JH2P_010, CUP B41J09000110005) granted to the nanotechnology laboratory of the Department of Experimental Medicine of the University of Magna Graecia of Catanzaro, the foundation "T. Campanella'' and RSA (ANASTE Calabria). The authors are grateful to Prof. Torella, Prof. Agosti, Prof. Fresta. Moreover, the authors are grateful to all patients and relatives involved in this study.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biotechnology


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