Galectin-3, β-galactoside-binding lectin, coats the membrane of most cancer cells and is involved in metastasis and endothelium recognition as well as in evading immune surveillance through killing of activated T cells. To flag galectin as a biomarker of tumours and metastasis, it is pivotal to understand the role of this protein in different tumours and at different stages. Breast tumours have an anomalous behaviour of the galectin-3 compared to other tumour cells. Herein, FACS sorting and galactoside based assays were used to investigate the role of galectin-3 in metastasis and metastatisation of breast cancer cells. Breast galectin fingerprint at the FACS displayed a higher amount in healthy cells, compared to metastatic cells. The microfluidic assay was able to isolate tumour and metastatic cells more than healthy breast cells. Investigation was performed on samples from patients with breast tumours at stage I and stage III whilst MCF7 and EPH-4 cells were used to perform preliminary investigations. The readout of the conditioned medium (from culturing of stage I cells) fingerprint by FACS evidenced high expression of free galectin. Analysis of the results established that the galectin coating the membrane, by galactoside recognition of the breast cells, and engaged by the cells to form protein-carbohydrate complexes inside the microfluidic assay, resembled the tumour signature of tumours in breast cells whilst the galectin free is independent of those mechanisms. © 2014 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology