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The Journal of biological chemistry

Glycophorin A protects K562 cells from natural killer cell attack. Role of oligosaccharides.


PMID 7592944

Abstract

Glycophorin A is a protein with an abundant glycosylation (60% carbohydrate by weight), and studies have suggested that resistance of target cells to natural killing may be correlated with the level of glycophorin A expression. To assess the role of glycophorin A and of its carbohydrates in sensitivity to lysis by natural killer (NK) cells, the glycoprotein was inserted into the membrane of K562 target cells using electropulsation. Peripheral blood lymphocytes were used as effector cells. When glycophorin A was inserted into the membrane, the level of resistance to NK cell attack increased with the number of glycophorin A molecules electroinserted. The resistance to lysis was not due to a defect in target cell-effector cell binding. Electroassociation of glycophorin A did not cause a decrease in the expression of either "positive signals" for NK cells (such as CD71, CD15, and CD32 antigens) or cellular adhesion molecules (CD18, CD29, CD54, and CD58). Furthermore, electroinsertion of glycophorin A did not trigger any "negative signals," such as class I HLA antigen expression. Finally, it was shown that the sialic acid and O-linked oligosaccharides of glycophorin A did not play any role in its effect against NK cells. Conversely, the unique N-linked oligosaccharide was shown to be essential for resistance to occur.

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A9791 Asialoglycophorin from Human Blood Type MN, lyophilized powder