The Two Endocytic Pathways Mediated by the Carbohydrate Recognition Domain and Regulated by the Collagen-like Domain of Galectin-3 in Vascular Endothelial Cells
Galectin-3 plays an important role in endothelial morphogenesis and angiogenesis. We investigated the endocytosis of galectin-3 in human vascular endothelial cells and showed that galectin-3 could associate with and internalized into the cells in a carbohydrate-dependent manner. Our work also revealed that galectin-3 was transported to the early/recycling endosomes and then partitioned into two routes – recycling back to the plasma membrane or targeting to the late endosomes/lysosomes. Various N- and C-terminal truncated forms of galectin-3 were constructed and compared with the full-length protein. These comparisons showed that the carbohydrate-recognition domain of galectin-3 was required for galectin-3 binding and endocytosis. The N-terminal half of the protein, which comprises the N-terminal leader domain and the collagen-like internal repeating domain, could not mediate binding and endocytosis alone. The collagen-like domain, although it was largely irrelevant to galectin-3 trafficking to the early/recycling endosomes, was required for targeting galectin-3 to the late endosomes/lysosomes. In contrast, the leader domain was irrelevant to both binding and intracellular trafficking. The data presented in this study correlate well with different cellular behaviors induced by the full-length and the truncated galectin-3 and provide an alternative way of understanding its angiogenic mechanisms.