Adhesion of chicken hepatocytes to polyacrylamide gels derivatized with N-acetylglucosamine.

R. L. Schnaar, P. H. Weigel, M. S. Kuhlenschmidt, Y. C. Lee, S. Roseman

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121 Scopus citations


Complex carbohydrates on the surfaces of eukaryotic cells are thought to participate in a wide variety of cell-cell interactions. A model system has therefore been developed to study these processes. In the present experiments, the ability of chicken hepatocytes to recognize and adhere to sugars covalently linked to polyacrylamide gels was investigated. The gels were snythesized by two methods. Type I gels were prepared from a co-polymer of an active ester of acrylic acid (N-succinimidyl acrylate), acrylamide, and bisacrylamide. The "activated" polyacrylamide gel was then treated with the desired ligand containing an amino group, such as 6-aminohexyl O- or S-glycoside. Type II gels were formed by treating similar ligands with acryloyl chloride, followed by co-polymerization of the resulting N-substituted acrylamide with acrylamide and N,N'-methylenebisacrylamide. These polyacrylamide derivatives offer many advantages for studies with intact cells. They are not toxic to any cell type studied, can be cast in any desired shape, are transparent and stable over a wide range of pH values, and contain no cationic and low to negligible levels of anionic charge (charged groups can be introduced if desired), and the polyacrylamide matrix is stable to common biological agents such as bacteria and enzymes. In addition, type I gels can be synthesized using a broad range of molecules containing amino groups, such as glycopeptides, proteins, etc. The hepatocytes were prepared by collagenase perfusion of intact chicken livers. The rate and extent of adhesion of the cells to the derivatized gels was determined by measuring lactate dehydrogenase in these cells. This enzyme was also used to assay viability and cell "leakiness." At 37 degrees C, 70 to 100% of the cells adhered within 60 min to gels derivatized with N-acetylglucosamine, i.e. gels derivatized with 6-aminohexyl 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-beta-D-glucopyranoside (or the corresponding thioglycoside). By contrast, less than 5% of the cells adhered to polyacrylamide or to gels derivatized with 6-aminohexanol or the 6-aminohexyl glycosides of beta-D-glucose, beta-D-galactose, alpha-D-mannose, beta-D-maltose, beta-D-melibiose, beta-D-cellobiose, and (alpha or beta)-D-lactose. Kinetic studies with the chicken hepatocytes and N-acetylglucosamine gels showed that cell-gel binding was dependent upon Ca2+ and was decreased at low temperatures. Binding was inhibited by N-acetylglucosamine or by glycosides of this sugar, the most effective inhibitor being orosomucoid (alpha1-acid glycoprotein) pretreated with sialidase and beta-galactosidase. The cell surface receptor(s) involved in this interaction is not known, but may be related or identical to the chicken liver binding protein described by Lunney and Ashwell (Lunney, J., and Ashwell, G. (1976) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 73, 341--343). The present results suggest that this model system should prove useful in delineating cell surface interactions with carbohydrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7940-7951
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 10 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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