Galectin-3, a beta-galactosidase-binding protein, is involved in regulating many physiological and pathological cellular processes. The significance of galectin-3 in human lung and nasal carcinoma cells has not yet been elucidated. Using RT-PCR and Western blotting techniques, the constitutive level of galectin-3 in the human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell line, DLKP, was investigated. Following galectin-3 cDNA transfection into these cells, growth, toxicity, adhesion, motility and invasion assays were used to investigate the relevance of galectin-3 over-expression. Galectin-3 over-expression did not induce a multi-drug resistance phenotype or significantly affect cell growth rate, but it did result in enhanced (i) adhesion to extracellular matrix components; (ii) cell motility; and (iii) in vitro invasiveness. Furthermore, studies of RPMI-2650 variants suggest that galectin-3 expression correlates with nasal carcinoma cell invasiveness. Our results suggest that galectin-3 expression levels in both lung and nasal tumour cells may play a role in cell motility, invasion, and metastasis.
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