Recent studies have shown that a carbohydrate-binding protein, galectin-3, is a novel pro-angiogenic molecule. The mechanism by which galectin-3 promotes angiogenesis remains unknown. We demonstrate here that galectin-3 is a mediator of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)- and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)-mediated angiogenic response. Angiogenesis assays revealed that galectin-3 inhibitors, β-lactose and dominant-negative galectin-3, reduce VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenesis in vitro and that VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenic response is reduced in galectin-3 knockdown cells and Gal3 -/- animals. Integrin αvβ3 was identified as the major galectin-3-binding protein and anti-αv, -β3, and -αvβ3 integrin function-blocking antibodies significantly inhibited the galectin-3-induced angiogenesis. Furthermore, galectin-3 promoted the clustering of integrin αvβ3 and activated focal adhesion kinase. Knockdown of GnTV, an enzyme that synthesizes high-affinity glycan ligands for galectin-3, substantially reduced: (a) complex N-glycans on αvβ3 integrins and (b) VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenesis. Collectively, these data suggest that galectin-3 modulates VEGF- and bFGF-mediated angiogenesis by binding via its carbohydrate recognition domain, to the GnTV synthesized N-glycans of integrin αvβ3, and subsequently activating the signaling pathways that promote the growth of new blood vessels. These findings have broad implications for developing novel, carbohydrate-based therapeutic agents for inhibition of angiogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy