Melanocytic Galectin-3 is Associated with Tyrosinase-Related Protein-1 and Pigment Biosynthesis

Allison Chalupa, Amy Koshoffer, Emily Galan, Lan Yu, Fu Tong Liu, Raymond E. Boissy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Galectin-3 is a family member of the carbohydrate-binding proteins widely expressed by many cell types and exhibits multiple cellular functions. We demonstrate that melanocytes express galectin-3, which is predominantly localized to the cell body peripherally along the Golgi zone. Downregulation of galectin-3 in human melanocytes using short hairpin RNA technology resulted in the reduction of both melanin synthesis and expression/activity of tyrosinase-related protein-1 (Tyrp-1). In the cell body, galectin-3 colocalizes with melanosome-destined cargo, specifically tyrosinase and Tyrp-1. We studied melanocytes cultured from patients with forms of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (HPS) containing defects in trafficking steps governed by biogenesis of lysosome-related organelle complex-2 (BLOC-2) (HPS-5), BLOC-3 (HPS-1), and adaptin-3 (HPS-2). We found that galectin-3 expression mimicked the defective expression of the tyrosinase cargo in dendrites of HPS-5 melanocytes, but it was not altered in HPS-1 or HPS-2 melanocytes. In addition, galectin-3 colocalized predominantly with the HPS-5 component of BLOC-2 in normal human melanocytes. These data indicate that galectin-3 is a regulatory component in melanin synthesis affecting the expression of Tyrp-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-211
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


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