Total cellular glycomics allows characterizing cells and streamlining the discovery process for cellular biomarkers

Naoki Fujitani, Jun ichi Furukawa, Kayo Araki, Tsuyoshi Fujioka, Yasuhiro Takegawa, Jinhua Piao, Taiki Nishioka, Tomohiro Tamura, Toshio Nikaido, Makoto Ito, Yukio Nakamura, Yasuro Shinohara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Although many of the frequently used pluripotency biomarkers are glycoconjugates, a glycoconjugate-based exploration of novel cellular biomarkers has proven difficult due to technical difficulties. This study reports a unique approach for the systematic overview of all major classes of oligosaccharides in the cellular glycome. The proposed method enabled mass spectrometry-based structurally intensive analyses, both qualitatively and quantitatively, of cellular N- and O-linked glycans derived from glycoproteins, glycosaminoglycans, and glycosphingolipids, as well as free oligosaccharides of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), and various human cells derived from normal and carcinoma cells. Cellular total glycomes were found to be highly cell specific, demonstrating their utility as unique cellular descriptors. Structures of glycans of all classes specifically observed in hESCs and hiPSCs tended to be immature in general, suggesting the presence of stemcell-specific glycosylation spectra. The current analysis revealed the high similarity of the total cellular glycome between hESCs and hiPSCs, although it was suggested that hESCs are more homogeneous than hiPSCs from a glycomic standpoint. Notably, this study enabled a priori identification of known pluripotency biomarkers such as SSEA-3, -4, and -5 and Tra-1-60/81, as well as a panel of glycans specifically expressed by hESCs and hiPSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2105-2110
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 5 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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