Structural and quantitative evidence for dynamic glycome shift on production of induced pluripotent stem cells

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 Dec;11(12):1913-23. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M112.020586. Epub 2012 Sep 27.


We recently reported that induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) prepared from different human origins acquired similar glycan profiles to one another as well as to human embryonic stem cells. Although the results strongly suggested attainment of specific glycan expressions associated with the acquisition of pluripotency, the detailed glycan structures remained to be elucidated. Here, we perform a quantitative glycome analysis targeting both N- and O-linked glycans derived from 201B7 human iPSCs and human dermal fibroblasts as undifferentiated and differentiated cells, respectively. Overall, the fractions of high mannose-type N-linked glycans were significantly increased upon induction of pluripotency. Moreover, it became evident that the type of linkage of Sia on N-linked glycans was dramatically changed from α-2-3 to α-2-6, and the expression of α-1-2 fucose and type 1 LacNAc structures became clearly apparent, while no such glycan epitopes were detected in fibroblasts. The expression profiles of relevant glycosyltransferase genes were fully consistent with these results. These observations indicate unambiguously the manifestation of a "glycome shift" upon conversion to iPSCs, which may not merely be the result of the initialization of gene expression, but could be involved in a more aggressive manner either in the acquisition or maintenance of the undifferentiated state of iPSCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Sugars
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts
  • Fucose / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glycosyltransferases / biosynthesis
  • Glycosyltransferases / genetics
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / metabolism*
  • Neuraminidase / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides / analysis*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Skin


  • Amino Sugars
  • Polysaccharides
  • Fucose
  • N-acetyllactosamine
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • Neuraminidase
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid