Bisected, complex N-glycans and galectins in mouse mammary tumor progression and human breast cancer

Hazuki E. Miwa, Wade R. Koba, Eugene J. Fine, Orsi Giricz, Paraic A. Kenny, Pamela Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Bisected, complex N-glycans on glycoproteins are generated by the glycosyltransferase MGAT3 and cause reduced cell surface binding of galectins. Previously, we showed that MGAT3 reduces growth factor signaling and retards mammary tumor progression driven by the Polyoma middle T antigen (PyMT) expressed in mammary epithelium under the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) promoter. However, the penetrance of the tumor phenotype became variable in mixed FVB/N and C57BL/6 female mice and we therefore investigated a congenic C57BL/6 Mgat3-/-/MMTV-PyMT model. In the absence of MGAT3, C57BL/6 Mgat3-/-/MMTV-PyMT females exhibited accelerated tumor appearance and increased tumor burden, glucose uptake in tumors and lung metastasis. Nevertheless, activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 or protein kinase B (AKT) was reduced in ∼20-week C57BL/6 MMTV-PyMT tumors lacking MGAT3. Activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), protein tyrosine kinase Src, and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase were similar to that of controls. All the eight mouse galectin genes were expressed in mammary tumors and tumor epithelial cells (TECs), but galectin-2 and -12 were not detected by western analysis in tumors, and galectin-7 was not detected in 60% of the TEC lines. From microarray data reported for human breast cancers, at least 10 galectin and 7 N-glycan N-acetylglucosaminyl (GlcNAc)-transferase (MGAT) genes are expressed in tumor tissue, and expression often varies significantly between different breast cancer subtypes. Thus, in summary, while MGAT3 and bisected complex N-glycans retard mouse mammary tumor progression, genetic background may modify this effect; identification of key galectins that promote mammary tumor progression in mice is not straightforward because all the eight galectin genes are expressed; and high levels of MGAT3, galectin-4, -8, -10, -13 and -14 transcripts correlate with better relapse-free survival in human breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1490
Number of pages14
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Breast cancer
  • Galectins
  • Mammary tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Bisected, complex N-glycans and galectins in mouse mammary tumor progression and human breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this