O-acetylated gangliosides: Structure, biosynthesis, immunogenicity, functions and their potential for cancer immunotherapy

Abstract : Sialic acid O-acetylation is a developmentally regulated modification of gangliosides implicated in ontogeny and tumor progression. Their existence has been underestimated in the past because of their alkali-labile nature and their transient expression. New data indicates, however, that O-acetylated gangliosides perform important function in tumor malignancy. Best studied O-acetyl-GD3 blocks the pro-apoptotic activity of GD3 and promotes survival of cancer cells. In acute lymphoblastic leukaemia cells, O-acetyl-GD3 expression level also correlates with survival and drug resistance. The recent identification of the enigmatic O-acetyltransferase opens new experimental approaches for designing novel effective therapeutics targeting drug-resistant cancer cells in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. In addition, O-acetylated gangliosides expressed at the tumor cell surface are accessible for specific monoclonal antibodies to inhibit cell growth, to induce apoptosis, and to inhibit tumor metastasis formation. Thus, passive immunotherapy using murine or murine/human chimeric monoclonal anti-O-acetylated ganglioside antibodies are currently being investigated. Particularly, targeting of O-acetyl-GD2 could reduce the acute toxicities currently associated with anti-GD2 therapeutic antibodies. This review summarizes the molecular mechanisms involved in the biosynthesis and the expression of O-acetylated gangliosides and presents the new experimental approaches that allow the characterization of their importance in tumor progression. The different strategies used by different teams to develop specific monoclonal antibodies against these poorly immunogenic glycolipids for therapeutic application are also discussed.
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Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, Medknow Publications, 2016, 4 (3), pp.21-30. 〈10.14312/2052-4994.2016-5〉
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Sophie Fougeray, Julien Fleurence, Sébastien Faraj, Meriem Bahri, Denis Cochonneau, et al.. O-acetylated gangliosides: Structure, biosynthesis, immunogenicity, functions and their potential for cancer immunotherapy. Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics, Medknow Publications, 2016, 4 (3), pp.21-30. 〈10.14312/2052-4994.2016-5〉. 〈inserm-01419857〉

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