Increased galectin-3 facilitates leukemia cell survival from apoptotic stimuli

Yi Lin Cheng, Wei Ching Huang, Chia Ling Chen, Cheng Chieh Tsai, Chi Yun Wang, Wei Hsin Chiu, Yuh Ling Chen, Yee Shin Lin, Chuan Fa Chang, Chiou Feng Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Galectin-3 is regulated for cancer cell survival and apoptosis depending upon the cell type and stimulus. We investigated a glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β/galectin-3-regulated mechanism used by leukemia cells to escape from apoptotic stimuli. Galectin-3 expression was time- and transcription-dependently deregulated in K562 chronic myeloid leukemia cells stimulated for apoptosis by cisplatin (a platinum-based chemotherapy drug), sphingolipid ceramide analog C2-ceramide, and LY294002 (a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor). Notably, galectin-3 was upregulated in survival cells. Forced galectin-3 expression caused resistance to apoptosis, whereas knockdown galectin-3 expression increased susceptibility to apoptosis. Sub-cellular distribution of inducible galectin-3 was mitochondria-specific. Apoptotic stimuli decreased pro-survival Bcl-2 family protein expression (especially Mcl-1), whereas galectin-3 overexpression reversed but it was enhanced by a galectin-3 expression knockdown. Under apoptotic stimulation, GSK-3β was activated after Akt was inactivated and GSK-3β was inhibited-either pharmacologically or using short hairpin RNA to abolish galectin-3, increase apoptosis, and inhibit colony formation-which suggests a pro-survival role for GSK-3β. We found that GSK-3β upregulated galectin-3 and stabilized anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins, which is important for the escape of leukemia cells from apoptotic stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)334-340
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug 26

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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