Alteration of ganglioside synthesis by GM3 synthase knockout in murine embryonic fibroblasts.
ABSTRACT To probe the functions of membrane gangliosides, the availability of ganglioside-depleted cells would be a valuable resource. To attempt to identify a useful genetic model of ganglioside depletion, we assessed ganglioside metabolism in murine GM3 synthase (GM3S)-/- knockout primary embryonic fibroblasts (MEF), because normal fibroblast gangliosides (GM3, GM2, GM1, and GD1a), all downstream products of GM3S, should be absent. We found that heterozygote MEF (GM3S+/-) did have a 36% reduced content of qualitatively normal gangliosides (7.0+/-0.8 nmol LBSA/mg cell protein; control: 11+/-1.6 nmol). However, two unexpected findings characterized the homozygous (GM3-/-) MEF. Despite complete knockout of GM3S, (i) GM3-/- MEF retained substantial ganglioside content (21% of normal or 2.3+/-1.1 nmol) and (ii) these gangliosides were entirely different from those of wild type MEF by HPTLC. Mass spectrometry identified them as GM1b, GalNAc-GM1b, and GD1alpha, containing both N-acetyl and N-glycolylneuraminic acid and diverse ceramide structures. All are products of the 0 pathway of ganglioside synthesis, not normally expressed in fibroblasts. The results suggest that complete, but not partial, inhibition of GM3 synthesis results in robust activation of an alternate pathway that may compensate for the complete absence of the products of GM3S.
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ABSTRACT: Converging evidence shows that GD3 ganglioside is a critical effector in a number of apoptotic pathways, and GM1 ganglioside has neuroprotective and noötropic properties. Targeted deletion of GD3 synthase (GD3S) eliminates GD3 and increases GM1 levels. Primary neurons from GD3S-/- mice are resistant to neurotoxicity induced by amyloid-β or hyperhomocysteinemia, and when GD3S is eliminated in the APP/PSEN1 double-transgenic model of Alzheimer's disease the plaque-associated oxidative stress and inflammatory response are absent. To date, no small-molecule inhibitor of GD3S exists. In the present study we used sialidase from Vibrio cholerae (VCS) to produce a brain ganglioside profile that approximates that of GD3S deletion. VCS hydrolyzes GD1a and complex b-series gangliosides to GM1, and the apoptogenic GD3 is degraded. VCS was infused by osmotic minipump into the dorsal third ventricle in mice over a 4-week period. Sensorimotor behaviors, anxiety, and cognition were unaffected in VCS-treated mice. To determine whether VCS was neuroprotective in vivo, we injected kainic acid on the 25th day of infusion to induce status epilepticus. Kainic acid induced a robust lesion of the CA3 hippocampal subfield in aCSF-treated controls. In contrast, all hippocampal regions in VCS-treated mice were largely intact. VCS did not protect against seizures. These results demonstrate that strategic degradation of complex gangliosides and GD3 can be used to achieve neuroprotection without adversely affecting behavior.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e29285. · 4.09 Impact Factor