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Cancer Res. 1989 Feb 15;49(4):945-50.

Oncodevelopmental expression of--GlcNAc beta 1-6Man alpha 1-6Man beta 1--branched asparagine-linked oligosaccharides in murine tissues and human breast carcinomas.

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Division of Cancer and Cell Biology, Mount Sinai Hospital Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Increased--GlcNAc beta 1-6Man alpha 1-6Man beta--branching in asparagine-linked oligosaccharides has been observed in murine and human tumor cells and has recently been linked to enhanced metastatic potential in experimental tumor models. Leukoagglutinin (L-PHA) requires the beta 1-6-linked lactosamine antenna (beta 1-6 branch) for high affinity binding and was used in this study to quantitate these structures on glycoproteins separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Normal rodent tissues and cell lines were used to standardize the experimental conditions required to quantitate beta 1-6-branched oligosaccharide structures and the glycosyltransferase activity which initiates the synthesis of the antenna, beta 1-6 N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc)-transferase V (EC Secondly, the levels of L-PHA-reactive oligosaccharide were compared in a series of benign and malignant human breast biopsies. Normal human breast tissue and benign lesions showed low expression but 50% of the primary malignancies examined showed significantly elevated L-PHA reactivity. GlcNAc transferase V activities in the human breast carcinomas and in normal murine tissues correlated with the levels of L-PHA reactive oligosaccharide in the tissues. GlcNAc transferase V showed similar ranges of activities, differing by approximately 5-fold between high and low expressing mouse tissues; fibroblasts with and without an activated H-ras oncogene; and low and high expressing human breast carcinomas. The results show that beta 1-6 branching in asparagine-linked oligosaccharides is dependent on tissue-specific regulation of GlcNAc transferase V activity. Secondly, a subset of human breast malignancies showed elevated levels of beta 1-6-branched oligosaccharides compared to benign samples, suggesting that further studies are warranted to determine whether the presence of these oligosaccharides is associated with metastatic disease and reduced patient survival time.

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