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Cancer Biochem Biophys. 1991 Nov;12(3):185-98.

Tn antigen and UDP-Gal:GalNAc alpha-R beta 1-3Galactosyltransferase expression in human breast carcinoma.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario.


The serine/threonine O-linked carbohydrates GalNAc alpha and Gal beta 1-3GalNAc alpha, referred to as Tn and T antigens, respectively, appear to be more prevalent in some human carcinomas than in surrounding tissues. Tn/T antigens may represent incomplete synthesis of O-linked oligosaccharides, due to decreased activity of specific glycosyltransferases, or alternatively, increased glycosidases activity in tumors which may expose these internal O-linked oligosaccharide sequences. To explore these possibilities, we measured UDP-Gal:GalNAc alpha-R beta 1-3 galactosyltransferase (beta 3Gal-T) and Gal beta 1-3GalNAc alpha-R beta 1-3 galactosidase in a series of human breast tumors. In addition, glycoproteins extracted from the tumors were separated by SDS-PAGE and stained with the lectins HPA (GalNAc alpha-R reactive) and PNA (Gal beta-3GalNAc alpha-R reactive). The relative levels of HPA- to PNA-reactive glycoproteins in the carcinomas correlated inversely with beta 3Gal-T activities. The results suggest that Tn antigen expression in human breast carcinoma is due in part to low beta 3Gal-T activity, a situation similar to that observed previously in haematopoietic cells of individuals with a condition called Tn syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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