Tumor cell haptotaxis on immobilized N-acetylglucosamine gradients

Brian K. Brandley, Joel H. Shaper, Ronald L. Schnaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Polyacrylamide surfaces covalently derivatized with quantifiable gradients of glycosides superimposed on a uniform adhesive background of coimmobilized Arg-Gly-Asp-containing adhesion peptide were synthesized. Substrate-directed cell redistribution (haptotaxis) was measured by seeding derivatized surfaces uniformly with B16F10 murine melanoma cells. After 4-32 hr, cells on gradients of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) redistributed markedly; higher cell densities were found at gel positions having a higher immobilized GlcNAc density. In contrast, cells seeded on otherwise identical gels having a uniform concentration of immobilized GlcNAc, or on gels having gradients of glucose or galactose, did not redistribute. Soluble inhibitors containing nonreducing terminal GlcNAc (but not those with terminal GalNAc or Gal) blocked redistribution on immobilized GlcNAc gradients. Redistribution was not affected by the presence or absence of serum in the medium. An affinity-purified antibody against β-1,4-galactosyltransferase, a GlcNAc-binding protein reported to be expressed on B16F10 cell surfaces, attenuated GlcNAc-directed redistribution. When cells were seeded on surfaces derivatized with various uniform densities of immobilized GlcNAc coimmobilized with an invariant density of immobilized Arg-Gly-Asp-peptide, neither cell attachment nor proliferation rate were enhanced on the gels having a higher GlcNAc density. These data indicate that the redistribution on immobilized GlcNAc gradients was due to cell motility. Although gels derivatized with Arg-Gly-Asp-peptide alone supported strong B16F10 cell adhesion, surfaces derivatized with uniform high concentrations of GlcNAc did not. We conclude that cell recognition of substratum gradients that support, at best, weak adhesion (GlcNAc) on an otherwise uniform strongly adhesive background (Arg-Gly-Asp-peptide) may be sufficient to direct cell migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-171
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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