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

The addition of exogenous gangliosides to cultured human cells results in the cell type-specific expression of novel surface antigens by a biosynthetic process.

After the observation that human mAb 32-27M reacts only with melanoma and astrocytoma cells cultured in the presence of fetal bovine serum, a novel pathway for the uptake of exogenous gangliosides, their further biosynthesis, and expression at the cell surface as novel Ag has been elucidated. The addition of fetal bovine serum to melanoma and astrocytoma cells growing in synthetic medium (insulin-transferrin-selenium) resulted in reactivity with Ab32-27M. As antibody 32-27M detects N-glycolylneuraminic acid (NeuGc)-containing gangliosides, the effect of adding a number of different gangliosides to melanoma and astrocytoma cells cultured in the synthetic medium was studied. Only the addition of NeuGc-GM3 resulted in the development of Ab32-27M reactivity. The identity of the antigenic structures developed after addition of fetal bovine serum or NeuGc-GM3 was determined by analysis of the gangliosides from both samples. The major component detected in melanoma cell lines was shown to be N-acetylneuraminic acid-NeuGc-GD3. Another, slower moving component, present in some melanomas and in astrocytomas may be N-acetylneuraminic acid-NeuGc-GD2. The cell type specificity for these processes can be most readily explained by postulating that all cells can take up exogenous gangliosides but only melanoma and astrocytoma cells have sufficiently high levels of GM3 alpha 2----8-sialyltransferase for the conversion of added NeuGc-GM3 to disialogangliosides to be effective. These results demonstrate a novel pathway for exogenous glycolipid processing that can lead to novel Ag expression but may also play a role in normal glycolipid metabolism and function.[1]


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