Reproduction (Cambridge, England)

The Sda/GM2-glycan is a carbohydrate marker of porcine primordial germ cells and of a subpopulation of spermatogonia in cattle, pigs, horses and llama.

PMID 21896636


Spermatogonia are a potential source of adult pluripotent stem cells and can be used for testis germ cell transplantation. Markers for the isolation of these cells are of great importance for biomedical applications. Primordial germ cells and prepubertal spermatogonia in many species can be identified by their binding of Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA). This lectin binds to two different types of glycans, which are α-linked N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNac) and β-linked GalNac, if this is part of the Sda or GM2 glycotopes. We used the MAB CT1, which is specific for the trisaccharides motif NeuAcα2-3(GalNAcβ1-4)Galβ1-, which is common to both Sda and GM2 glycotopes, to further define the glycosylation of DBA binding germ cells. In porcine embryos, CT1 bound to migratory germ cells and gonocytes. CT1/DBA double staining showed that the mesonephros was CT1 negative but contained DBA-positive cells. Gonocytes in the female gonad became CT1 negative, while male gonocytes remained CT1 positive. In immunohistological double staining of cattle, pig, horse and llama testis, DBA and CT1 staining was generally colocalised in a subpopulation of spermatogonia. These spermatogonia were mainly single, sometimes paired or formed chains of up to four cells. Our data show that the Sda/GM2 glycotope is present in developing germ cells and spermatogonia in several species. Owing to the narrower specificity of the CT1 antibody, compared with DBA, the former is likely to be a useful tool for labelling and isolation of these cells.

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G8397 Monosialoganglioside GM2 from bovine brain, ≥95% (TLC)