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J Biol Chem. 2014 Mar 7;289(10):7178-89. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.508457. Epub 2014 Jan 14.

Remodeling of marrow hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells by non-self ST6Gal-1 sialyltransferase.

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From the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263 and.


Glycans occupy the critical cell surface interface between hematopoietic cells and their marrow niches. Typically, glycosyltransferases reside within the intracellular secretory apparatus, and each cell autonomously generates its own cell surface glycans. In this study, we report an alternate pathway to generate cell surface glycans where remotely produced glycosyltransferases remodel surfaces of target cells and for which endogenous expression of the cognate enzymes is not required. Our data show that extracellular ST6Gal-1 sialyltransferase, originating mostly from the liver and released into circulation, targets marrow hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) and mediates the formation of cell surface α2,6-linked sialic acids on HSPCs as assessed by binding to the specific lectins Sambucus nigra agglutinin and Polysporus squamosus lectin and confirmed by mass spectrometry. Marrow HSPCs, operationally defined as the Lin-c-Kit+ and Lin-Sca-1+c-Kit+ populations, express negligible endogenous ST6Gal-1. Animals with reduced circulatory ST6Gal-1 have marrow Lin-Sca-1+c-Kit+ cells with reduced S. nigra agglutinin reactivity. Bone marrow chimeras demonstrated that α2,6-sialylation of HSPCs is profoundly dependent on circulatory ST6Gal-1 status of the recipients and independent of the ability of HSPCs to express endogenous ST6Gal-1. Biologically, HSPC abundance in the marrow is inversely related to circulatory ST6Gal-1 status, and this relationship is recapitulated in the bone marrow chimeras. We propose that remotely produced, rather than the endogenously expressed, ST6Gal-1 is the principal modifier of HSPC glycans for α2,6-sialic acids. In so doing, liver-produced ST6Gal-1 may be a potent systemic regulator of hematopoiesis.


Glycosylation; Hematopoiesis; Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells; Plasma; Serum; Sialic Acid; Sialyltransferase; st6gal1

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