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Oncol Rep. 2017 Jul;38(1):440-448. doi: 10.3892/or.2017.5661. Epub 2017 May 23.

N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase IVa promotes invasion of choriocarcinoma.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.
Department of Experimental Pathology and Tumor Biology, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Nagoya 467-8601, Japan.


Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) results from the malignant transformation of placental trophoblasts which secrete human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) as do normal placenta or hydatidiform mole. N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase IV (GnT-IV) is a glycosyltransferase which catalyses the formation of β1,4GlcNAc branches on the mannose core of N-glycans. Previous studies reported that β1,4GlcNAc branches on hCG were detected in GTN but not in normal pregnancy or hydatidiform mole. The aim of the present study was to understand the role of GnT-IVa in choriocarcinoma and find the target proteins for GnT-IVa glycosylation which contribute to the malignancy of choriocarcinoma. Immunohistochemistry showed that Griffonia simplicifolia lectin-II staining and GnT-IVa staining were intense in trophoblastic cells of invasive mole and choriocarcinoma. We established a choriocarcinoma cell line with GnT-IVa overexpression (Jar-GnT4a), and examined its malignant potential and target proteins for GnT-IVa glycosylation. GnT-IVa overexpression increased the cell migration and invasion (2.5- and 1.4-fold) as well as the ability to adhere to the extracellular matrix (ECM) components, including fibronectin and collagen type I and IV. The tumour formation potential of Jar-GnT4a in mice was significantly higher than that of control (P=0.0407), and the cumulative survival rate of mice with Jar-GnT4a was relatively lower than those with control. Immunoprecipitation studies showed that β1,4GlcNAc branches of N-glycans on integrin β1 in choriocarcinoma cells were increased by GnT-IVa overexpression. Nano-LC/MS/MS analysis suggested that lysosome-associated membrane glycoprotein 2 (LAMP-2) was a target protein for glycosylation by GnT-IVa. The increase in β1,4GlcNAc branches on LAMP-2 by GnT-IVa overexpression was confirmed by lectin blot analysis using whole cell lysate and conditioned medium. Our results suggest that highly branched N-glycans generated by the action of GnT-IVa are present in trophoblastic cells of GTN in proportion to GnT-IVa expression level, and that GnT-IVa may contribute to the malignancy of choriocarcinoma by promoting cell adhesion, migration and invasion through glycosylation of integrin β1 and LAMP-2.

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