Publication — IRIC
Expression and functions of galectin-7 in human and murine melanomas.
The identification of galectin-7 as a p53-induced gene and its ability to induce apoptosis in many cell types support the hypothesis that galectin-7 has strong antitumor activity. This has been well documented in colon cancer. However, in some cases, such as breast cancer and lymphoma, its high expression level correlates with aggressive subtypes of cancer, suggesting that galectin-7 may have a dual role in cancer progression. In fact, in breast cancer, overexpression of galectin-7 alone is sufficient to promote metastasis to the bone and lung. In the present work, we investigated the expression and function of galectin-7 in melanoma. An analysis of datasets obtained from whole-genome profiling of human melanoma tissues revealed that galectin-7 mRNA was detected in more than 90% of biopsies of patients with nevi while its expression was more rarely found in biopsies collected from patients with malignant melanoma. This frequency, however, was likely due to the presence of normal epidermis tissues in biopsies, as shown our studies at the protein level by immunohistochemical analysis. Using the experimental melanoma B16F1 cell line, we found that melanoma cells can express galectin-7 at the primary tumor site and in lung metastasis. Moreover, we found that overexpression of galectin-7 increased the resistance of melanoma cells to apoptosis while inducing de novo egr-1 expression. Overexpression of galectin-7, however, was insufficient to modulate the growth of tumors induced by the subcutaneous injection of B16F1 cells. It also failed to modulate the dissemination of B16F1 cells to the lung.