Human glioma cell line U-373 MG expresses CMP-Neu-Ac: Galβ1,3GlcNAc α2,3-sialyltransferase [EC No. 126.96.36.199] (α2,3ST), UDP-GlcNAc: β-D-mannoside β1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V [EC 188.8.131.52] (GnT-V) and UDP-GlcNAc3: β-D-mannoside β1,4-N- acetylglucosaminyltransferase III [EC 184.108.40.206] (GnT-III) but not CMP-Neu-Ac: Galβ1,4GlcNAc α2,6-sialyltransferase [EC 220.127.116.11] (α2,6ST) under normal culture conditions. We have previously shown that transfection of the α2,6ST gene into U-373 cells replaced α2,3-linked sialic acids with α2,6 sialic acids, resulting in a marked inhibition of glioma cell invasivity and a significant reduction in adhesivity. We now show that U-373 cells, which are typically highly resistant to cell death induced by chemotherapeutic agents (< 10% death in 18 h), become more sensitive to apoptosis following overexpression of these four glycoprotein glycosyltransferases. U-373 cell viability showed a three-fold decrease (from 20 to 60% cell death) following treatment with staurosporine, C2-ceramide or etoposide, when either α2,6ST and GnT-V genes were stably overexpressed. Even glycosyltransferases typically raised in cancer cells, such as α2,3ST and GnT-III, were able to decrease viability two-fold (from 20 to 40% cell death) following stable overexpression. The increased susceptibility of glycosyltransferase-transfected U-373 cells to pro-apoptotic drugs was associated with increased ceramide levels in Rafts, increased caspase-3 activity and increased DNA fragmentation. In contrast, the same glycosyltransferase overexpression protected U-373 cells against a different class of apoptotic drugs, namely the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002. Thus altered surface protein glycosylation of a human glioblastoma cell line can lead to lowered resistance to chemotherapeutic agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience