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Glycobiology. 2008 Oct;18(10):750-60. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwn071. Epub 2008 Aug 13.

N-Glycans in cancer progression.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.


N-Glycan branching in the medial-Golgi generates ligands for lattice-forming lectins (e.g., galectins) that regulate surface levels of glycoproteins including epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) receptors. Moreover, functional classes of glycoproteins differ in N-glycan multiplicities (number of N-glycans/peptide), a genetically encoded feature of glycoproteins that interacts with metabolic flux (UDP-GlcNAc) and N-glycan branching to differentially regulate surface levels. Oncogenesis increases beta1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (encoded by Mgat5) expression, and its high-affinity galectin ligands promote surface retention of growth receptors with a reduced dependence on UDP-GlcNAc. Mgat5(-/-) tumor cells are less metastatic in vivo and less responsive to cytokines in vitro, but undergo secondary changes that support tumor cell proliferation. These include loss of Caveolin-1, a negative regulator of EGF signaling, and increased reactive oxygen species, an inhibitor of phosphotyrosine phosphatases. These studies suggest a systems approach to cancer treatment where the surface distribution of receptors is targeted through metabolism and N-glycan branching to induce growth arrest.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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