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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999 Dec 6;1473(1):21-34.

Glycoprotein glycosylation and cancer progression.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Ave., Rm. 876, M5G 1X5, Toronto, Ont., Canada.


Glycosylation of glycoproteins and glycolipids is one of many molecular changes that accompany malignant transformation. GlcNAc-branched N-glycans and terminal Lewis antigen sequences have been observed to increase in some cancers, and to correlate with poor prognosis. Herein, we review evidence that beta1, 6GlcNAc-branching of N-glycans contributes directly to cancer progression, and we consider possible functions for the glycans. Mgat5 encodes N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (GlcNAc-TV), the Golgi enzyme required in the biosynthesis of beta1,6GlcNAc-branched N-glycans. Mgat5 expression is regulated by RAS-RAF-MAPK, a signaling pathway commonly activated in tumor cells. Ectopic expression of GlcNAc-TV in epithelial cells results in morphological transformation and tumor growth in mice, and over expression in carcinoma cells has been shown to induce metastatic spread. Ectopic expression of GlcNAc-TIII, an enzyme that competes with GlcNAc-TV for acceptor, suppresses metastasis in B16 melanoma cells. Furthermore, breast cancer progression and metastasis induced by a viral oncogene expressed in transgenic mice is markedly suppressed in a GlcNAc-TV-deficient background. Mgat5 gene expression and beta1, 6GlcNAc-branching of N-glycans are associated with cell motility, a required phenotype of malignant cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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