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Galectin-1 inhibition induces cell apoptosis through dual suppression of CXCR4 and Ras pathways in human malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors.



The Ras signaling pathway is commonly dysregulated in human malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). It is well known that galectin-1 (Gal-1) is essential to stabilize membrane Ras and thereby induce the activation of Ras. However, the role of Gal-1 in MPNST progression remains unknown. The aim of this study was to examine whether Gal-1 knockdown could have an effect on the Ras signaling pathway.


Cell viability, apoptosis assay, and colony formation were performed to examine the effects of inhibition of Gal-1 in MPNST cells. We used a human MPNST xenograft model to assess growth and metastasis inhibitory effects of Gal-1 inhibitor LLS2.


Gal-1 was upregulated in MPNST patients and was highly expressed in MPNST cells. Knockdown of Gal-1 by small interfering (si)RNA in Gal-1 expressing MPNST cells significantly reduces cell proliferation through the suppression of C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) and the rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (RAS)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway, which are important oncogenic signaling in MPNST development. Moreover, Gal-1 knockdown induces apoptosis and inhibits colony formation. LLS2, a novel Gal-1 allosteric small molecule inhibitor, is cytotoxic against MPNST cells and was able to induce apoptosis and suppress colony formation in MPNST cells. LLS2 treatment and Gal-1 knockdown exhibited similar effects on the suppression of CXCR4 and RAS/ERK pathways. More importantly, inhibition of Gal-1 expression or function by treatment with either siRNA or LLS2 resulted in significant tumor responses in an MPNST xenograft model.


Our results identified an oncogenic role of Gal-1 in MPNST and that its inhibitor, LLS2, is a potential therapeutic agent, applied topically or systemically, against MPNST.

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