Dr. Lee, Eminy H.Y. 李小媛 博士

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Galectin-3 Negatively Regulates Hippocampus-Dependent Memory Formation through Inhibition of Integrin Signaling and Galectin-3 Phosphorylation

Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, Jul 11, 2017

Galectin-3, a member of the galectin protein family, has been found to regulate cell proliferation, inhibit apoptosis and promote inflammatory responses. Galectin-3 is also expressed in the adult rat hippocampus, but its role in learning and memory function is not known. Here, we found that contextual fear-conditioning training, spatial training or injection of NMDA into the rat CA1 area each dramatically decreased the level of endogenous galectin-3 expression. Overexpression of galectin-3 impaired fear memory, whereas galectin-3 knockout (KO) enhanced fear retention, spatial memory and hippocampal long-term potentiation. Galectin-3 was further found to associate with integrin α3, an association that was decreased after fear-conditioning training. Transfection of the rat CA1 area with small interfering RNA against galectin-3 facilitated fear memory and increased phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase (FAK) levels, effects that were blocked by co-transfection of the FAK phosphorylation-defective mutant Flag-FAKY397F. Notably, levels of serine-phosphorylated galectin-3 were decreased by fear conditioning training. In addition, blockade of galectin-3 phosphorylation at Ser-6 facilitated fear memory, whereas constitutive activation of galectin-3 at Ser-6 impaired fear memory. Interestingly galectin-1 plays a role in fear-memory formation similar to that of galectin-3. Collectively, our data provide the first demonstration that galectin-3 is a novel negative regulator of memory formation that exerts its effects through both extracellular and intracellular mechanisms.

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