Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) represent an important class of immunogens and receptors. Although cell surface antigens and receptors of endothelial cells (ECs) have been the subject of extensive biochemical investigation, no information is available about their GSLs. We report here the characterization by chromatographic and immunological techniques of GSLs of cultured human umbilical vein ECs and, for comparison, umbilical vein smooth muscle cells (SMCs). The most abundant neutral GSLs of both cell types were lactosylceramide, Gb3, and Gb4, and both cells contained complex lacto and globo series compounds. Immunostaining revealed that ECs, but not SMCs, contained long chain GSLs bearing a type 2 blood group H determinant. ECs also contained more long chain GSLs bearing an unsubstituted terminal lactosamine structure than SMCs. Labeling with galactose oxidase/NaB3H4 demonstrated that neutral glycolipids that contained three or more sugars were accessible on the cell surface. The major gangliosides of both cell types were GM3 and IV3NeuAcnLc4. Immunostaining following neuraminidase treatment revealed that most of the long chain gangliosides in both types of cells contained a lacto core structure, and that ganglio series compounds were more abundant in SMCs than ECs. Gangliosides that contain a polyfucosyllactosamine core and a globo core were also present in both cell types. These results demonstrate that endothelial and smooth muscle cells contain a large diversity of GSL structures, and provide the basis for investigation of the role of these GSLs as cell surface antigens and receptors for blood components.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology