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Exp Cell Res. 1991 Feb;192(2):612-21.

N-linked oligosaccharide processing and autocrine stimulation of tumor cell proliferation.

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Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Somatic mutations which impair complex-type N-linked oligosaccharide processing and chemical inhibitors of processing have been shown to reduce metastatic potential in several experimental tumor models. In this report, we demonstrate that glycosylation mutants of the metastatic MDAY-D2 tumor cell line with either truncated glycans lacking sialic acid and galactose or a mutant with less branched N-linked oligosaccharides grow more slowly in serum-free medium (SFM) than do MDAY-D2 cells. In medium containing fetal calf serum, growth rates of the cell lines were similar. A revertant of the former mutation showed a return to a more rapid growth rate in SFM. The N-linked processing inhibitor swainsonine also reduced cell growth rate in SFM but not in serum-containing medium. One of five randomly selected clones of the MDAY-D2 tumor cell line showed a slower growth rate in SFM and also showed decreased expression of branched N-linked oligosaccharides. These observations suggest that in MDAY-D2 cells, optimal factor-independent stimulation is dependent upon expression of branched complex-type N-linked oligosaccharides. The growth rate of MDAY-D2 cells in SFM was dependent on the initial seeding density of the cultures, and medium conditioned by the cells accelerated the growth of low-density cultures, suggesting that the cells respond to an autocrine factor. Culture supernatants conditioned by mutant and wild-type cells had similar levels of growth-stimulating activity. However, both mutants and swainsonine-treated cells were less responsive to this growth-stimulating activity. The growth rates of the MDAY-D2 tumor cell lines in vivo as subcutaneous tumors correlated with their relative growth rates in SFM in vitro. The results suggest that branched complex-type N-linked oligosaccharides commonly expressed in malignant cells are required for optimal autocrine-dependent growth in vitro and may be a significant factor in tumor progression in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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