Glycoengineering human neural and adipose stem cells with novel thiol-modified n-acetylmannosamine (Mannac) analogs

Jian Du, Christian Agatemor, Christopher T. Saeui, Rahul Bhattacharya, Xiaofeng Jia, Kevin J. Yarema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This report describes novel thiol-modified N-acetylmannosamine (ManNAc) analogs that extend metabolic glycoengineering (MGE) applications of Ac5 ManNTGc, a non-natural monosac-charide that metabolically installs the thio-glycolyl of sialic acid into human glycoconjugates. We previously found that Ac5 ManNTGc elicited non-canonical activation of Wnt signaling in human embryoid body derived (hEBD) cells but only in the presence of a high affinity, chemically compatible scaffold. Our new analogs Ac5 ManNTProp and Ac5 ManNTBut overcome the requirement for a com-plementary scaffold by displaying thiol groups on longer, N-acyl linker arms, thereby presumably increasing their ability to interact and crosslink with surrounding thiols. These new analogs showed increased potency in human neural stem cells (hNSCs) and human adipose stem cells (hASCs). In the hNSCs, Ac5 ManNTProp upregulated biochemical endpoints consistent with Wnt signaling in the absence of a thiol-reactive scaffold. In the hASCs, both Ac5 ManNTProp and Ac5 ManNTBut suppressed adipogenic differentiation, with Ac5 ManNTBut providing a more potent response, and they did not interfere with differentiation to a glial lineage (Schwann cells). These results expand the horizon for using MGE in regenerative medicine by providing new tools (Ac5 ManNTProp and Ac5 ManNTBut) for manipulating human stem cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number377
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Adipose stem cell glycoengineering
  • Metabolic glycoengineering
  • N-acetylmannosamine (ManNAc) analogs
  • Neural stem cell glycoengineering
  • Stem cell differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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