Sialyltransferase specificity in selectin ligand formation

Blood. 2002 Nov 15;100(10):3618-25. doi: 10.1182/blood-2002-04-1007. Epub 2002 Jul 25.


Selectin ligands are glycan structures that participate in leukocyte trafficking and inflammation. At least 6 ST3Gal sialyltransferases (I-VI) have been identified that may contribute to selectin ligand formation. However, it is not known which of these sialyltransferases are involved in vivo and whether they may differentially regulate selectin function. We have produced and characterized mice genetically deficient in ST3Gal-I, ST3Gal-II, ST3Gal-III, and ST3Gal-IV. Unlike mice bearing severe defects in selectin ligand formation, there was no finding of leukocytosis with these single ST3Gal deficiencies. Among neutrophils, only ST3Gal-IV was found to play a role in the synthesis of selectin ligands. In vitro rolling of marrow-derived neutrophils on E- or P-selectins presented by Chinese hamster ovary cells was reduced in the absence of ST3Gal-IV. However, in a tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha)-induced inflammation model in vivo, no defect among P-selectin ligands was observed. Nevertheless, the number of leukocytes rolling on postcapillary venules in an E-selectin-dependent manner was decreased while E-selectin-dependent rolling velocity was increased. We propose that multiple ST3Gal sialyltransferases contribute to selectin ligand formation, as none of these ST3Gal deficiencies recapitulated the degree of E- and P-selectin ligand deficit observed on neuraminidase treatment of intact neutrophils. Our findings indicate a high degree of functional specificity among sialyltransferases and a substantial role for ST3Gal-IV in selectin ligand formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • E-Selectin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes / enzymology
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mutagenesis
  • Neutrophils / enzymology
  • P-Selectin / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Selectins / metabolism*
  • Sialyltransferases / genetics
  • Sialyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • beta-Galactoside alpha-2,3-Sialyltransferase


  • E-Selectin
  • Ligands
  • P-Selectin
  • Selectins
  • Sialyltransferases
  • beta-Galactoside alpha-2,3-Sialyltransferase