Confluent cultured intestinal epithelial cells displayed greater adhesion to the substratum than did subconfluent cells. Subconfluent and confluent cells were labelled with [3H]fucose for 24h and the cell-surface components were released by mild Pronase treatment. After extensive Pronase digestion, cell-surface and cell-residue glycopeptides were fractionated on Bio-Gel P-6. The cell surface contained a higher proportion of lower-molecular-weight glycopeptides than the residue. No significant difference in elution pattern was found between total cell-surface glycopeptides of subconfluent and confluent cells. However, confluent cells contained almost twice as much [3H]-fucose-labelled glycopeptides that were bound to concanavalin A-Sepharose and were subsequently eluted with 20mM-methyl alpha-D-glucopyranoside as subconfluent cells. When the bound glycopeptides were chromatographed on Bio-Gel P-6, it was found that confluent cells contained a larger proportion of lower-molecular-weight glycopeptides than subconfluent cells. This difference in size was eliminated after treatment of glycopeptides with sialidase. When growth of subconfluent cells was inhibited with a non-toxic concentration of retinoic acid, no significant effect on the elution pattern of [3H]fucose-labelled glycopeptides was observed on either Bio-Gel P-6 or concanavalin A-Sepharose. No significant difference was found in the total [3H]fucose-labelled glycoproteins from subconfluent and confluent cells by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. It is suggested that the differences in [3H]fucose-labelled glycopeptides between subconfluent and confluent cells are cell-density-dependent rather than growth-dependent, and that these differences are likely to result from some changes in glycosylation mechanism(s). Furthermore, the differences in cell-surface glycopeptides may be related to the changes in the adhesion of the cells to the substratum.
- © 1983 London: The Biochemical Society