Background: We have previously reported a novel fungal galectin Agrocybe aegerita lectin (AAL) with apoptosis-induced activity and nuclear migration activity. The importance of nuclear localization for AAL's apoptosis-induced activity has been established by mutant study. However, the mechanism remains unclear.
Methods: We further investigated the mechanism using a previously reported carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) mutant protein H59Q, which retained its nuclear localization activity but lost most of its apoptotic activity. The cell membrane-binding ability of recombinant AAL (rAAL) and H59Q was analyzed by FACS, and their cellular partners were identified by affinity chromatography and mass spectroscopy. Furthermore, the interaction of AAL and ligand was proved by mammalian two-hybrid and pull down assays. A knockdown assay was used to confirm the role of the ligand.
Results: The apoptotic activity of AAL could be blocked by lactose. Mutant H59Q retained comparable cell membrane-binding ability to rAAL. Four cellular binding partners of AAL in HeLa cells were identified: glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78); mortality factor 4-like protein 1 (MRG15); elongation factor 2 (EEF2); and heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70). CRD region of AAL was required for the interaction between AAL/mutant AAL and MRG15. MRG15 knockdown increased the cells' resistance to AAL treatment.
Conclusion: MRG15 was a nuclear ligand for AAL in HeLa cells. These data implied the existence of a novel nuclear pathway for the antitumor activity of fungal galectin AAL.
General significance: These findings provide a novel explanation of AAL bioactivity and contribute to the understanding of mushroom lectins' antitumor activity.
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