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Glycoconj J. 1996 Apr;13(2):135-45.

Expression and localization of Lewis(x) glycolipids and GD1a ganglioside in human glioma cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298-0614, USA.


We analysed the glycolipid composition of glioma cells (N-370 FG cells), which are derived from a culture of transformed human fetal glial cells. The neutral and acidic glycolipid fractions were isolated by column chromatography on DEAE-Sephadex and analysed by high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC). The neutral glycolipid fraction contained 1.6 micrograms of lipid-bound glucose/galactose per mg protein and consisted of GlcCer (11.4% of total neutral glycolipids), GalCer (21.5%), LacCer (21.4%), Gb4 (21.1%), and three unknown neutral glycolipids (23%). These unknown glycolipids were characterized as Lewis(x) (fucosylneolactonorpentaosyl ceramide; Le(x)), difucosylneolactonorhexaosyl ceramide (dimeric Le(x)), and neolactonorhexaosyl ceramide (nLc6) by an HPTLC-overlay method for glycolipids using specific mouse anti-glycolipid antibodies against glycolipid and/or liquid-secondary ion (LSI) mass spectrometry. The ganglioside fraction contained 0.6 micrograms of lipid-bound sialic acid per mg protein with GD1a as the predominant ganglioside species (83% of the total gangliosides) and GM3, GM2, and GM1 as minor components. Trace amounts of sialyl-Le(x) and the complex type of sialyl-Le(x) derivatives were also present. Immunocytochemical studies revealed that GD1a and GalCer were primarily localized on the surface of cell bodies. Interestingly, Le(x) glycolipids and sialyl-Le(x) were localized not only on the cell bodies but also on short cell processes. Especially, sialyl-Le(x) glycolipid was located on the tip of fine cellular processes. The unique localization of the Le(x) glycolipids suggests that they may be involved in cellular differentiation and initiation of cellular growth in this cell line.

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