ST8Sia-IV belongs to a member of the sialyltransferase family and forms polysialic acid (PSA) mainly attached to neural cell adhesion molecules (N-CAM). PSA is a glycan composed of a linear homopolymer of α2,8-linked sialic acid, which contains as many as 55 sialic acid residues per chain (Livingston et al. 1988). The expression of PSA in the brain dramatically decreases during development (Fig. 1), suggesting that this unique glycan is implicated in various neural events such as cell migration, neurite outgrowth, and neural plasticity by modulating the adhesive property of N- CAM (for reviews, see: Fryer and Hockfield 1996; Rutishauser and Landmesser 1996; Walsh and Doherty 1996; Kiss and Rougon 1997; Nakayama et al. 1998). In addition, PSA is also involved in the pathogenesis or metastatic potential of certain tumors such as neuroblastoma, small and nonsmall cell lung cancer, Wilm’s tumor, and pancreatic cancer (Roth et al. 1988; Scheidegger et al. 1994; Hildebrandt et al. 1998; Kameda et al. 1999; Tanaka et al. 2000; Tanaka et al. 2001).
KeywordsSialic Acid Olfactory Bulb Neurite Outgrowth Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule Polysialic Acid
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