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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Aug 5;1428(2-3):209-18.

Altered mRNA expression of glycosyltransferases in human gastric carcinomas.

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Department of Surgery and Surgical Oncology, Klinikum Charite, Robert-Rössle-Klinik at the Max-Delbrück-Center of Molecular Medicine, Lindenberger Weg 80, D-13125, Berlin, Germany.


Biosynthesis of carbohydrate structures is tissue-specific and developmentally regulated by glycosyltransferases like fucosyl-, sialyl- and N-acetylglucosaminyltransferases. During carcinogenesis, aberrant glycosylation leads to the development of tumor subpopulations with different adhesion properties. The aim of this contribution was to directly compare mRNA expression of several glycosyltransferases in surgical specimens of gastric carcinomas. Carcinoma specimens were classified and characterized according to the WHO/UICC system. In each case, the expression of 12 glycosyltransferase enzymes was studied simultaneously by RT-PCR. For semi-quantitative analysis, amplification of the sample sequence was compared with that of beta-actin, co-amplified within the same tube. Expression of N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V in gastric carcinomas was significantly enhanced compared to normal tissue. Also, expression of sialyltransferase ST3Gal-IV and fucosyltransferase FT-IV was significantly enhanced in carcinoma tissue. No significant differences in glycosyltransferase expression were found in samples positive for Helicobacter pylori or between the different gastric regions. Thus, carcinogenesis is characterized by specific alterations in mRNA expression of several glycosyltransferases. Future studies will show whether RT-PCR detection of the expression of these enzymes could be helpful for prognostic purposes.

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