Galectin-3 negatively regulates TCR-mediated CD4+ T-cell activation at the immunological synapse.
Chen HY., Fermin A., Vardhana S., Weng IC., Lo KF., Chang EY., Maverakis E., Yang RY., Hsu DK., Dustin ML., Liu FT.
We have investigated the function of endogenous galectin-3 in T cells. Galectin-3-deficient (gal3(-/-)) CD4(+) T cells secreted more IFN-gamma and IL-4 than gal3(+/+)CD4(+) T cells after T-cell receptor (TCR) engagement. Galectin-3 was recruited to the cytoplasmic side of the immunological synapse (IS) in activated T cells. In T cells stimulated on supported lipid bilayers, galectin-3 was primarily located at the peripheral supramolecular activation cluster (pSMAC). Gal3(+/+) T cells formed central SMAC on lipid bilayers less effectively and adhered to antigen-presenting cells less firmly than gal3(-/-) T cells, suggesting that galectin-3 destabilizes the IS. Galectin-3 expression was associated with lower levels of early signaling events and phosphotyrosine signals at the pSMAC. Additional data suggest that galectin-3 potentiates down-regulation of TCR in T cells. By yeast two-hybrid screening, we identified as a galectin-3-binding partner, Alix, which is known to be involved in protein transport and regulation of cell surface expression of certain receptors. Co-immunoprecipitation confirmed galectin-3-Alix association and immunofluorescence analysis demonstrated the translocation of Alix to the IS in activated T cells. We conclude that galectin-3 is an inhibitory regulator of T-cell activation and functions intracellularly by promoting TCR down-regulation, possibly through modulating Alix's function at the IS.