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We previously demonstrated that Siglec-15, a member of the Siglec family of glycan-recognition proteins, is expressed on a subset of macrophages and preferentially recognizes the sialyl-Tn (sTn) antigen, a tumor-associated glycan structure. In this study, we report on the biological significance of the Siglec-15-mediated interaction between monocytes/macrophages and cancer cells. Siglec-15 is expressed on tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in various human tumor tissues. We further demonstrated that its expression is substantially elevated in macrophage colony-stimulating factor-induced M2-like macrophages, which produced more transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) in response to sTn-positive cells than to negative cells. We designed a co-culture model of THP-1 (human monocytic leukemia) cells and H157 (human lung carcinoma) cells mimicking the interaction between monocytes/macrophages and cancer cells that recapitulated the enhanced TGF-β production in Siglec-15 expressing THP-1 cells by the cellular interaction with sTn expressing H157 cells. The enhanced TGF-β production required a direct interaction between the two cell lines through sialic acids. Siglec-15 associates with adaptor protein DNAX activation protein of 12 kDa (DAP12) at the binding determinant Lys(274) in the transmembrane domain and transduces a signal to spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk). The enhanced TGF-β secretion was significantly attenuated by Syk inhibitor treatment of THP-1 cells or by substitution of the Siglec-15 Lys(274) to Ala, which disrupts the molecular interaction between Siglec15 and DAP12. These findings indicate that Siglec-15 recognizes the tumoral sTn antigen and transduces a signal for enhanced TGF-β secretion in TAMs and further suggest that Siglec-15 on macrophages may contribute to tumor progression by the TGF-β-mediated modulation of intratumoral microenvironments.


Rina Takamiya, Kazuaki Ohtsubo, Shinji Takamatsu, Naoyuki Taniguchi, Takashi Angata. The interaction between Siglec-15 and tumor-associated sialyl-Tn antigen enhances TGF-β secretion from monocytes/macrophages through the DAP12-Syk pathway. Glycobiology. 2013 Feb;23(2):178-87

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PMID: 23035012

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