We attempted to determine whether beta1,3-galactosyltransferase beta3Gal-T5 is involved in the biosynthesis of a specific subset of type 1 chain carbohydrates and expressed in a cancer-associated manner. We transfected Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells expressing Fuc-TIII with beta3Gal-T cDNAs and studied the relevant glycoconjugates formed. beta3Gal-T5 directs synthesis of Lewis type 1 antigens in CHO cells more efficiently than beta3Gal-T1, whereas beta3Gal-T2, -T3, and -T4 are almost unable to direct synthesis. In the clone expressing Fuc-TIII and beta3Gal-T5 (CHO-FT-T5), sialyl-Lewis a synthesis is strongly inhibited by swainsonine but not by benzyl-alpha-GalNAc, and sialyl-Lewis x is absent, although it is detected in the clones expressing Fuc-TIII and beta3Gal-T1 (CHO-FT-T1) or Fuc-TIII and beta3Gal-T2 (CHO-FT-T2). Endo-beta-galactosidase treatment of N- glycans prepared from clone CHO-FT-T5 releases (+/-NeuAcalpha2-->3)Galbeta1-->3[Fucalpha1-->4]GlcNAcbeta1-->3Gal but not GlcNAcbeta1-->3Gal or type 2 chain oligosaccharides, which are found in CHO-FT-T1 cells. This result indicates that beta3Gal-T5 expression prevents poly-N-acetyllactosamine and sialyl-Lewis x synthesis on N-glycans. Kinetic studies confirm that beta3Gal-T5 prefers acceptors having the GlcNAcbeta1-->3Gal end, including lactotriosylceramide. Competitive reverse transcriptase mediated-polymerase chain reaction shows that the beta3Gal-T5 transcript is expressed in normal colon mucosa but not or poorly in adenocarcinomas. Moreover, recombinant carcinoembryonic antigen purified from a CHO clone expressing Fuc-TIII and beta3Gal-T5 reacts with anti-sialyl-Lewis a and carries type 1 chains on oligosaccharides released by endo-beta-galactosidase. We conclude that beta3Gal-T5 down-regulation plays a relevant role in determining the cancer-associated glycosylation pattern of N-glycans.
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