The lectin Dolichos biflorus agglutinin as a marker for early murine embryonic stem cell differentiation and characterization of the carbohydrate epitopes involved in lectin binding
Hill Neves, Lori Anne
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Cell surface markers are important tools used to characterize and separate a mixed cell population. Existing cell surface markers used to identify murine embryonic stem cells (mESCs) such as stage specific embryonic antigens (SSEA-1, SSEA-3, SSEA-4) and Forssman antigen are limited because they are unable to define the pluripotent state of mESCs, and are not reliable indicators of early differentiation. In a previous study, a panel of lectins was used to identify glycan cell surface markers that undergo changes in early differentiation. Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA) recognizes the glycan epitope .-N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc). These glycan epitopes decline drastically upon the first definable step of differentiation, the change from mESCs to primitive ectoderm, and therefore the loss of GalNAc epitopes is the earliest cell surface change that can be assigned to mESCs. In addition, it has been determined that these GalNAc epitopes are present on glycoproteins rather than glycolipids, and are O-linked.