Gene expression of galectin-9/ecalectin, a potent eosinophil chemoattractant, and/or the insertional isoform in human colorectal carcinoma cell lines and detection of frame-shift mutations for protein sequence truncations in the second functional lectin domain

Int J Oncol. 2000 Sep;17(3):519-24. doi: 10.3892/ijo.17.3.519.


The family of Ca2+-independent galactoside-binding lectins with the beta-strand topology of the jelly-roll, referred to as galectins, is known to mediate and modulate a variety of cellular activities. Their functional versatility explains the current interest in monitoring their expression in cancer research, so far primarily focused on galectin-1 and -3. Tandem-repeat-type galectin-9 and its (most probably) allelic variant ecalectin, a potent eosinophil chemoattractant, are known to be human leukocyte products. We show by RT-PCR with primers specific for both that their mRNA is expressed in 17 of 21 human colorectal cancer lines. As also indicated by restriction analysis, in addition to the expected transcript of 571 bp an otherwise identical isoform coding for a 32-amino acid extension of the link peptide was detected. Positive cell lines differentially expressed either one (7 lines) or both transcripts (10 lines). Sequence analysis of RT-PCR products, performed in four cases, allowed to assign the standard transcript to ecalectin in the case of SW480 cells and detected two point mutations in the insert of the link peptide-coding sequence in WiDr and Colo205. Furthermore, this analysis identified the insertion of a single nucleotide into the coding sequence generating a frame-shift mutation, an event which has so far not been reported for any galectin. This alteration encountered in both transcripts of the WiDr line and the isoform transcript of Colo205 cells will most likely truncate the protein part within the second (C-terminal) carbohydrate recognition domain. Our results thus reveal the presence of mRNA for a galectin-9-isoform or a potent eosinophil chemoattractant (ecalectin) or a truncated version thereof with preserved N-terminal carbohydrate recognition domain in established human colon cancer cell lines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Frameshift Mutation*
  • Galectins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Lectins / biosynthesis*
  • Lectins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / biosynthesis*
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Deletion*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Galectins
  • LGALS9 protein, human
  • Lectins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Neoplasm