Galectin-1, a novel ligand of neuropilin-1, activates VEGFR-2 signaling and modulates the migration of vascular endothelial cells

S. H. Hsieh, N. W. Ying, M. H. Wu, W. F. Chiang, C. L. Hsu, T. Y. Wong, Y. T. Jin, T. M. Hong, Y. L. Chen

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Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a homodimeric prototype of the galectins with a single carbohydrate-recognition domain, was recently identified as being overexpressed in tumor-associated capillary endothelial cells. The role of Gal-1 in endothelial cellular functions and the mechanism of action of Gal-1 remain unknown. Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is a neuronal receptor that mediates repulsive growth cone guidance, and NRP1 functions in endothelial cells as a coreceptor (with vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs)) for VEGF 165. In this study, we found that Gal-1 was overexpressed in the tumor-associated endothelial cells of oral squamous cell carcinomas (P<0.001). Gal-1 increased the proliferation and adhesion of endothelial cells, and enhanced cell migration in combination with VEGF165. Surprisingly, Gal-1 selectively bound NRP1 via the carbohydrate-recognition domain, but did not bind VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2 or VEGFR-3. The Gal-1-NRP1 interaction mediated the migration and adhesion of endothelial cells. The binding of Gal-1 to NRP1 enhanced VEGFR-2 phosphorylation and stimulated the activation of the mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinases SAPK1/JNK (stress activated protein kinase-1/c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase). These findings show, for the first time, that Gal-1 can directly bind to NRP1 on endothelial cells, and can promote the NRP1/VEGFR-2-mediated signaling pathway as well as NRP1-mediated biological activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3746-3753
Number of pages8
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jun 12


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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