Elucidating the role of the family of GalNAc-Transferases in aberrant protein O-glycosylation in the progression of epithelial ovarian cancer

Authors: Sheta, Razan
Advisor: Bachvarov, Dimcho
Abstract: Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy, thus understanding the molecular changes associated with ovarian cancer metastasis could lead to the identification of essential therapeutic targets. Glycosylation is a post-translational modification (PTM) of proteins playing a major role in various cell properties. Glycosylation participates in major pathophysiology events during tumor progressions, and the aberrant expression of glycan structures was shown to interfere with cell properties such as cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation. The lab has previously identified the polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 3 (GALNT3) gene, a member of the GalNAc-Transferases (GalNAc-Ts) gene family, as hypomethylated and overexpressed in high-grade (HG) serous EOC tumors, compared to low malignant potential (LMP) EOC tumors and normal ovarian tissues. Taken together, the data obtained were indicative of a strong oncogenic potential of the GALNT3 gene in advanced EOC and suggest that GALNT3 overexpression might contribute to EOC dissemination through aberrant mucin O-glycosylation, thus specifying some of the putative mechanisms of abnormal glycosylation implicated in ovarian carcinogenesis, which warrant further investigation. The current research project focused on expanding the in vitro observations obtained by using animal models to investigate in vivo the functional significance of GALNT3 and other close members of the GalNAc-Ts gene family in serous EOC progression. Moreover, by applying a mass-independent chemical glycoproteomics platform to characterize intact, metabolically labeled glycopeptides, this project more profoundly characterized the role of GALNT3 in aberrant O-glycosylation of mucin-like targets in EOC cells. Isotopically recorded ions were searched against the Swiss-Prot human proteome; and data obtained were indicative of hundreds of unique glycoproteins and glycopeptides that were differentially expressed upon GALNT3 KD. Related gene groups were identified, and interestingly, genes implicated in mechanisms of cellular metabolic functions, and PTMs were found to be predominantly suppressed in GALNT3 KD clones. In accordance, we also investigated the role of other members of the GalNAc-T family in EOC and we showed that multiple members and not only GALNT3 can play an important role in EOC cancer dissemination and progression. One very interesting finding was the redundant role some members of the GalNAc-T family members play in EOC. We investigated the compensatory functions of GALNT3 and GALNT6, and we were able to demonstrate these two genes can impose that synthetic backup. Furthermore, we found that and their ablation can affect animal survival and tumor formation as observed both in vivo and in vitro. In continuation of this work, this project will focus on analyzing the glycan structures of those differentially expressed glycoproteins, to further examine the specific O-glycans alterations associated with the GALNT3 and other members of the GalNAc-Ts upon gene knockout (KO). Fully elaborated glycopeptides can reveal structural details of the glycoproteome, thus our results could give important information on the glycome in EOC cells, and the identification of other O-glycoproteins/mucin-like targets whose aberrant expression may be modulated by these in EOC. Taken together, the ability to mark differences in the glycosylation of proteins between cancer cells and control cells can emphasize glycobiology as a promising field for potential biomarker identification.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2018
Open Access Date: 23 May 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/29818
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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