Overlapping and unique substrate specificities of ST3GAL1 and 2 during hematopoietic and megakaryocytic differentiation

Nanyan Zhang, Siying Lin, Weiguo Cui, Peter J. Newman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the sialyltransferases ST3GAL1 and ST3GAL2 are known to transfer sialic acid to the galactose residue of type III disaccharides (Galβ1,3GalNAc) in vitro, sialylation of O-linked glycosylated proteins in living cells has been largely attributed to ST3GAL1. To examine the role of ST3GAL2 in O-sialylation, we examined its expression during differentiation of human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) and megakaryocytes (MKs). ST3GAL1 and ST3GAL2 each became highly expressed during the differentiation of iPSCs to HPCs but decreased markedly in their expression upon differentiation into MKs, suggesting coordination of expression during megakaryopoiesis. To further delineate their role in these processes, we generated ST3GAL1-, ST3GAL2-, and doubly deficient human iPSC lines. Binding of the peanut agglutinin lectin, which reports the presence of unsialylated Galβ1,3GalNAc glycan chains, was strongly increased in HPCs and MKs derived from double-knockout iPSCs and remained moderately increased in cells lacking either one of these sialyltransferases, demonstrating that both can serve as functional cellular O-glycan sialyltransferases. Interestingly, the HPC markers CD34 and CD43, as well as MK membrane glycoprotein (GP) GPIba, were identified as major GP substrates for ST3GAL1 and ST3GAL2. In contrast, O-sialylation of GPIIb relied predominantly on the expression of ST3GAL2. Finally, although disruption of ST3GAL1 and ST3GAL2 had little impact on MK production, their absence resulted in dramatically impaired MK proplatelet formation. Taken together, these data establish heretofore unknown physiological roles for ST3GAL1 and ST3GAL2 in O-linked glycan sialylation in hemato- and megakaryocytopoiesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3945-3955
Number of pages11
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 12 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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