Essential Alterations of Heparan Sulfate During the Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells to Sox1-Enhanced Green Fluorescent Protein-Expressing Neural Progenitor Cells

Authors

  • Claire E. Johnson,

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Research UK and University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Brett E. Crawford,

    1. Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Glycobiology Research and Training Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
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  • Marios Stavridis,

    1. MRC Centre of Stem Cell Biology, Institute for Stem Cell Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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  • Gerdy ten Dam,

    1. Department of Biochemistry, Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Annie L. Wat,

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Research UK and University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Graham Rushton,

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Research UK and University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Christopher M. Ward,

    1. Centre for Molecular Medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Valerie Wilson,

    1. MRC Centre of Stem Cell Biology, Institute for Stem Cell Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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  • Toin H. van Kuppevelt,

    1. Department of Biochemistry, Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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  • Jeffrey D. Esko,

    1. Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Glycobiology Research and Training Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
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  • Austin Smith,

    1. MRC Centre of Stem Cell Biology, Institute for Stem Cell Research, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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  • John T. Gallagher,

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Research UK and University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Catherine L. R. Merry Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer Research UK and University of Manchester, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
    • School of Materials, Materials Science Centre, The University of Manchester, Grosvenor Street, Manchester, M1 7HS, United Kingdom. Telephone: 0161-306-8871; Fax: 0161-306-3586
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Abstract

Embryonic stem (ES) cells can be cultured in conditions that either maintain pluripotency or allow differentiation to the three embryonic germ layers. Heparan sulfate (HS), a highly polymorphic glycosaminoglycan, is a critical cell surface coreceptor in embryogenesis, and in this paper we describe its structural transition from an unusually low-sulfated variant in ES cells to a more highly sulfated form in fluorescence-activated cell sorting-purified neural progenitor cells. The characteristic domain structure of HS was retained during this transformation. However, qualitative variations in surface sulfation patterns between ES and differentiated cells were revealed using HS epitope-specific antibodies and the HS-binding growth factor fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2). Expression profiles of the HS modification enzymes indicated that both “early” (N-sulfotransferases) and “late” (6O- and 3O-sulfotransferases) sulfotransferases contributed to the alterations in sulfation patterning. An HS-null ES line was used to demonstrate the necessity for HS in neural differentiation. HS is a coreceptor for many of the protein effectors implicated in pluripotency and differentiation (e.g., members of the FGF family, bone morphogenic proteins, and fibronectin). We suggest that the stage-specific activities of these proteins are finely regulated by dynamic changes in sulfation motifs in HS chains.

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.

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