Expression of a unique globo-series glycolipid in cultured rat dorsal root ganglion neurons: Relationship with neuronal development

Shubhro Pal, John W. Bigbee, Megumi Saito, Toshio Ariga, Robert K. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Previous studies from this laboratory demonstrated the presence of a UDP- galactose:Gb3Cer α1-3galactosyltansferase activity responsible for the synthesis of a unique glycosphingolipid (GSL), Galα1-3Gb3Cer, in cultured PC12 pheochromocytoma cells (21). In this investigation, we examined the presence of this enzyme activity in isolated rat embryonic dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGN), which, like pheochromocytoma cells, originate from the neural crest cells. DRGN exhibited the α-galactosyltransferase activity and the activity was comparable to that of the PC12 cells while several other rat tissues, with the exception of kidney, showed minimal activity. In order to define the spatial and temporal expression of Galα1-3Gb3Cer in DRGN, we examined the expression of Galα1-3Gb3Cer in cultured DRGN derived from embryonic day 16 rat embryos. Using a polyclonal antibody raised against Galα1-3Gb3Cer, we examined the localization of this glycolipid in DRGN cells after 5, 8, 12, and 15 days in culture. Immunostaining was restricted to the neurons while Schwann cells were negative. At day 5, the immunostaining was weak and confined to the cell body of the DRGN, though neurites were present at this stage. The period between days 5 and 15 represented a period of rapid neuritic growth and continued enlargement of the cell bodies. Immunoreactivity in the cell bodies increased dramatically by day 8. By day 12, immunoreactivity was present in neurites, and by day 15, was strong in both cell bodies and neurites. The expression of Galα1-3Gb3Cer in vivo was confirmed by immunostaining of frozen sections of dorsal root ganglia. Our present studies which demonstrate neuron-specific expression of Galα1- 3Gb3Cer during neurotigenesis combined with previous observations for its expression in PC12 cells, strongly implicates this GSL in neuronal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-409
Number of pages7
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Glycosphingolipid
  • dorsal rest ganglion
  • neuronal development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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