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Tissue Cell. 1984;16(6):885-908.

Type, location and role of glycosaminoglycans in cloned differentiated chick retinal pigmented epithelium.


In clonal culture, colonies of 3-4 week old chick retinal pigmented epithelial cells exhibit Alcian Blue positive extracellular matrix (ECM) material on the surface of the cells. Alcian blue positive ECM is located between undifferentiated cells at the edges of the disc-shaped colonies and beneath the differentiated cells in the colony center. The latter material is associated with the basement membrane. The staining properties suggest that glycosaminoglycans (GAG) are present in these regions. Extraction of GAG from homogenates of colonies, followed by electrophoresis on cellulose acetate strips, results in three bands with mobilities similar to those of hyaluronic acid, heparan sulfate, and chondroitin sulfate, respectively. All three bands label with [3H]glucosamine, and the last two also label with [35S]sulfate. The composition appeared to differ when colonies were grown in different media. Digestion of the GAG preparations with various enzymes suggests that bands II and III represent heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate, respectively, in colonies grown in Ham's F10g medium. The composition of band I is as yet undetermined. In minimal Eagle's medium (MEM), bands I and III consisted of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate, respectively, while band II had properties suggestive of a copolymer of heparan sulfate and an unidentified GAG. Cells release only one [3H]glucosamine-labelled GAG into the medium. This material has a mobility similar to hyaluronic acid and is digested by Streptomyces hyaluronidase, suggesting that it is hyaluronic acid. Staining with Alcian Blue at different pH suggests that it may represent the material associated with the upper surface of the cells. Some of the ECM located between the undifferentiated cells and associated with the basement membrane in the differentiated regions of the colonies stains with Alcian Blue at pH 1.0 and 0.2 suggesting that it may contain GAGs found in bands I and II. Colonies treated with medium containing 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON), an inhibitor of GAG synthesis, for 48 hr showed a reduced Alcian Blue staining of the ECM in the undifferentiated regions. After 72 hr of treatment with DON, the undifferentiated cells had detached from the plate, whereas the differentiated cells remained intact. The results suggest that the GAG may be involved in cellular adhesion, particularly of the undifferentiated cells.

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