Down-regulation of the expression of O-acetyl-GD3 by the O- acetylesterase cDNA in hamster melanoma cells: Effects on cellular proliferation, differentiation, and melanogenesis

Stéphane Birklé, Shulin Ren, Andrzej Slominski, Guichao Zeng, Luoyi Gao, Robert K. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


The composition of the gangliosides of hamster melanoma cells is closely related to their cellular growth and degree of differentiation, with slow- growing, highly differentiated melanotic melanoma MI cells expressing GM3 and fast-growing, undifferentiated amelanotic Ab melanoma cells having a preponderance of GD3 and O-acetyl-GD3. To study the putative function of O- acetyl-GD3, we established stably transfected AbC-1 amelanotic hamster melanoma cells with O-acetylesterase gene from influenza C virus to hydrolyze the O-acetyl group from O-acetyl-GD3. The content of O-acetyl-GD3 in the transfected cells expressing O-acetylesterase gene was reduced by ≥90%. These O-acetyl-GD3-depleted cells differed from the parental ones in their cellular morphology, growth behavior, and melanogenesis activity. The absence of O-acetyl-GD3 in the transfected cells was accompanied by increased thick dendrite formation with an enlarged cell body, which is in striking contrast to the control cells, which were rounded and flattened, with few processes. Their growth was significantly slower than that of the control cells. They also demonstrated significantly lower tyrosinase activity and melanogenic potential. We suggest that the enhanced expression of melanoma-associated O- acetyl-GD3 ganglioside may stimulate cellular growth and suppress certain differentiated phenotypes such as dendrite formation but not melanogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)954-961
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 24 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Cell differentiation
  • Cell proliferation
  • Melanogenesis
  • Melanoma
  • O-Acetyl-GD3
  • O-Acetylesterase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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