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Human galectin-3 (hGal-3) is a mammalian lectin involved in regulation of RNA splicing, apoptosis, cell differentiation, and proliferation. Multimerized extracellular hGal-3 is thought to crosslink cells by binding to glycoproteins and glycosylated cancer antigens on the cell surface or extracellular matrix. Fluorescence spectroscopy and circular dichroism were used to study the interaction of hGal-3 with two anticancer agents: bohemine and Zn porphyrin (ZnTPPS(4)). The dissociation constant (k(D)) for binding of bohemine with hGal-3 was k(D) 0.23+/-0.05 microM. The hyperbolic titration curve indicated the presence of a single bohemine binding site. The binding of ZnTPPS(4) to hGal-3 (with and without lactose) is of high affinity having k(D)=0.18-0.20 microM and is not inhibited by lactose, indicating that ZnTPPS(4) and carbohydrate bind different sites. Circular dichroism spectra of the hGal-3 complexes suggested that the binding of the hydrophobic compounds changed the hGal-3 secondary structure. In summary, we show that two compounds with anticancer activity, bohemine and ZnTPPS(4), have high affinity for hGal-3 at a site that is distinct from its carbohydrate site. Since hGal-3 binds to several carbohydrate cancer antigens, the results suggest that it may have utility in the targeted delivery of drugs for cancer.


Vanya P Bogoeva, Antonio Varriale, Constance M John, Sabato D'Auria. Human galectin-3 interacts with two anticancer drugs. Proteomics. 2010 May;10(10):1946-53

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PMID: 20209510

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