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Galectin-3 Binds and Activates VEGF-R2


, : Galectin-3 Binds and Activates VEGF-R2.

Angiogenesis is heavily influenced by VEGF-A and its family of receptors, particularly VEGF receptor 2 (VEGF-R2). Like most cell surface proteins, VEGF-R2 is glycosylated, although the function of VEGF-R2 with respect to its glycosylation pattern is poorly characterized. Galectin-3, a glycan binding protein, interacts with the EGF and TGF? receptors, retaining them on the plasma membrane and altering their signal transduction. Because VEGF-R2 is glycosylated and both galectin-3 and VEGF-R2 are involved with angiogenesis, we hypothesized that galectin-3 binds VEGF-R2 and modulates its signal transduction as well. Employing a Western blot analysis approach, we found that galectin-3 induces phosphorylation of VEGF-R2 in endothelial cells. Knockdown of galectin-3 and Mgat5, an enzyme that synthesizes high-affinity glycan ligands of galectin-3, reduced VEGF-A mediated angiogenesis in vitro. A direct interaction on the plasma membrane was detected between galectin-3 and VEGF-R2, and this interaction was dependent on the expression of Mgat5. Using immunofluorescence and cell surface labeling, we found an increase in the level of internalized VEGF-R2 in both Mgat5 and galectin-3 knockdown cells, suggesting that galectin-3 retains the receptor on the plasma membrane. Finally, we observed reduced suture-induced neovascularization in the corneas of Gal3?/? and Mgat5?/? mice. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that, like its role with the EGF and TGF? receptors, galectin-3 contributes to the plasma membrane retention and proangiogenic function of VEGF-R2.

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