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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

GalNAc glycoprotein expression by breast cell lines, primary breast cancer and normal breast epithelial membrane.

Over-expression of N-acetylgalactosamine glycoproteins as detected by binding of the lectin from Helix pomatia (HPA), is associated with metastatic competence and poor patient prognosis in a range of human adenocarcinomas. These glycoproteins remain poorly characterised, and their functional role has yet to be elucidated. This study describes characterisation of a range of human breast/breast cancer cell lines for the expression of the N-acetylgalactosaminylated glycoproteins of interest, and their comparison with normal breast epithelium and a range of clinical breast carcinoma samples. Confocal and light microscopy studies revealed cytochemical HPA-binding patterns consistent with a fundamental disruption in normal glycobiosynthetic pathways attending increasing metastatic potential. We report the most complete comparative analysis of HPA-binding ligands from cultured breast cells, clinical breast carcinoma samples and normal breast epithelium to date. Lectin blotting identified 11 major HPA-binding glycoprotein bands common to both clinical tumour samples and breast cell lines and 6 of these bands were also expressed by samples of normal breast epithelium, albeit at much lower levels. Moreover, very marked quantitative but not qualitative differences in levels of expression consistent with metastatic capability were noted.[1]


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