Heparan sulfate synthesized by human melanoma cell variants

F. Caux, J. Timar, M. Vigny, M. Moczar

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Background - Heparan sulfate (HS), a glycosaminoglycan component of cell surface and basement membranes, mediates the interaction of diverse cells with the extracellular matrix. The presence of HS in human melanoma tumors raises the question of the biochemical characteristics of HS synthesized by human melanoma cells. In this work some aspects of structure, metabolism and interactions of biosynthetically labeled HS were studied in the culture of the human melanoma A 2058 cell line and of its less metastatic HT 168 variant. Methods - Labeled glycosaminoglycans were separated from the medium, the pericellular compartment (released by trypsin from the cells) and from the cell lysate by ion exchange and molecular sieve chromatography. HS was characterized by deaminative cleavage. Results - At equilibrium state of labeling and on a cell number basis, the medium of A 2058 cells contained twice as much HS than the medium of the HT 168 variant. In both cell lines HS was the major pericellular glycosaminoglycan component. The main intracellular HS population was of low molecular mass and its amount was higher in the HT 168 cells than in the parental line. After long-term pulse-chase 10% and 40% of pericellular HS were released into the medium by the HT 168 variant and the A 2058 cells respectively. This result, complemented by the presence of HS oligosaccharides in the cells, indicated an intracellular degradation of this glycosaminoglycan. A 2058 cells catabolized less HS than their HT 168 counterparts. HS exhibited a low sulfate content in both cell lines. It did not bind to fibronectin and to laminin but it was retained by a basic FGF affinity column. Conclusions - The release of polypeptide-bound HS by human melanoma cells in culture may reflect one of the mechanisms of accumulation of this glycosaminoglycan in melanoma tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1992


  • chondroitin sulfate
  • glycosaminoglycans
  • heparan sulfate
  • melanoma
  • metastasis
  • proteoglycans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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    Caux, F., Timar, J., Vigny, M., & Moczar, M. (1992). Heparan sulfate synthesized by human melanoma cell variants. Cancer Journal, 5(2), 111-117.