Embryonal carcinoma cells, stem cells of teratocarcinomas, are pluripotent stem cells and also prototypes of embryonic stem cells. Embryonal carcinoma cells contain large amounts of a highly branched poly-N-acetyllactosamine called embryoglycan, which has a molecular weight of approximately 10,000 or greater, and is asparagine-linked. This glycan was found by analyses of fucose-labeled glycopeptides, and its characteristics were established by biochemical analyses. The content of embryoglycan progressively decreases during the in vitro differentiation of embryonal carcinoma cells. Embryoglycan is also abundant in mouse embryonic stem cells and preimplantation mouse embryos, and decreases during embryogenesis. Embryoglycan carries a number of carbohydrate markers of murine pluripotent stem cells. Lewis x markers, such as SSEA-1, 4C9 antigen, and binding sites for Lotus tetragonolobus agglutinin are of particular importance. 4C9 antigenicity requires clustering of Lewis x, best accomplished by poly-N-acetyllactosamine branching, whereas SSEA-1 does not. Although in vivo evidence is lacking, these epitopes have been suggested to participate in cell-to-cell and cell-to-substratum adhesion. Other markers on embryoglycan include α-galactosyl antigens such as ECMA-2, and binding sites for Dolichos biflorus agglutinin, the epitope of which is considered to be identical to Sda antigen, namely, GalNAcβ1–4(NeuAcα2–3)Galβ1–4GlcNAc. While embryoglycan is also present in human teratocarcinoma cells, the carbohydrate markers characterized in human pluripotent stem cells to date are largely carried by glycolipids and keratan sulfate. Information on embryoglycan and markers carried by it may assist in the development of new markers of human pluripotent stem cells and their progenies.
Glycoconjugate Journal – Springer Journals
Published: May 17, 2016
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