Transient expression of sialylated glycans during glycoprotein processing by embryonal carcinomas

Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
R J Ivatt


Embryonal carcinoma and early embryonic cells express unusually large and complex carbohydrates on their surfaces that are lost during differentiation. These carbohydrates are composed of alternating galactose and N-acetylglucosamine residues and have either linear or branched architectures. Compared to the glycans expressed by many differentiated cells these glycans are poorly sialylated. However, metabolic studies reveal that there is a transient expression of sialylated glycans during the processing of glycoproteins by embryonal carcinomas. After a short pulse with mannose the major complex-type glycan is a biantennary glycan with two sialic acids. During subsequent chase periods this glycan species is replaced by unsialylated glycans that have elongated branches composed of alternating galactose and N-acetylglucosamine residues.

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