Biosynthesis of glycosphingolipids by human myeloid leukemia cells

Joanne Buehler, Eileen Qwan, Michael W. DeGregorio, Bruce A. Macher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We have performed comparative studies of the neutral glycosphingolipids synthesized by three human myeloid leukemia cell lines, K562, KG1, and HL-60, which were metabolically labeled with [14C]galactose, to evaluate changes in neutral glycosphingolipid synthesis with myeloid cell differentiation. Individual neutral glycosphingolipids containing one to four sugars were purified by a combination of the following methods: diethylaminoethyl-Sephadex column chromatography, acetylation-Florisil column chromatography, and high-performance liquid chromatography using an Iatrobead column. Compounds with one sugar were analyzed by thin-layer chromatography on borate plates. This analysis showed that HL-60 cells synthesize only glucosylceramide, whereas K562 and KG1 cells synthesize predominately glucosylceramide, but also a small amount of galactosylceramide. Compounds with two to four sugars were characterized by treatment with exo- and endoglycosidases. The results showed that K562 and KG1 cells are similar to cells from patients with acute leukemia in expressing two series (globo and neolacto) of natural glycosphingolipids, whereas the HL-60 cells are similar to mature human myeloid cells in expressing only one series (neolacto). Therefore, human myeloid leukemia cells blocked at different stages of differentiation vary in their ability to synthesize neutral glycosphingolipids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6978-6984
Number of pages7
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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