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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1997 Nov 1;1354(2):153-8.

Chinese hamster ovary cells lacking GM1 and GD1a synthesize gangliosides upon transfection with human GM2 synthase.

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Centro de Investigaciones en Química Biológica de Córdoba, Departamento de Química Biológica, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina.


GM3-positive Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1 cells) lack the ability to synthesize GM2 and the complex gangliosides GM1 and GD1a from [3H]Gal added to the culture medium. However, they acquire the ability to synthesize GM2 and to synthesize and immunoexpress complex gangliosides upon transient transfection with a cDNA encoding the human GM3:N-acetylgalactosaminyl transferase (GM2 synthase). The activities of endogenous GM1- and GD1a-synthases in the parental cell line and in cells transfected with the plasmid with or without the GM2 synthase cDNA were essentially identical and comparable in terms of specific activity with the endogenous GM3 synthase. Results indicate that glycosyltransferases acting on GM2 to produce GM1 and GD1a are constitutively present in CHO-K1 cells, and that the expression of their activities depend on the supply of the acceptor GM2. In addition, these results lend support to the notion that GM2 synthase is a key regulatory enzyme influencing the balance between simple and complex gangliosides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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