Re-Expression of Poly/Oligo-Sialylated Adhesion Molecules on the Surface of Tumor Cells Disrupts Their Interaction with Immune-Effector Cells and Contributes to Pathophysiological Immune Escape
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionCancers. 2021, 13 (20), 1-47. 10.3390/cancers13205203
Glycans linked to surface proteins are the most complex biological macromolecules that play an active role in various cellular mechanisms. This diversity is the basis of cell–cell interaction and communication, cell growth, cell migration, as well as co-stimulatory or inhibitory signaling. Our review describes the importance of neuraminic acid and its derivatives as recognition elements, which are located at the outermost positions of carbohydrate chains linked to specific glycoproteins or glycolipids. Tumor cells, especially from solid tumors, mask themselves by re-expression of hypersialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), neuropilin-2 (NRP-2), or synaptic cell adhesion molecule 1 (SynCAM 1) in order to protect themselves against the cytotoxic attack of the also highly sialylated immune effector cells. More particularly, we focus on α-2,8-linked polysialic acid chains, which characterize carrier glycoproteins such as NCAM, NRP-2, or SynCam-1. This characteristic property correlates with an aggressive clinical phenotype and endows them with multiple roles in biological processes that underlie all steps of cancer progression, including regulation of cell–cell and/or cell–extracellular matrix interactions, as well as increased proliferation, migration, reduced apoptosis rate of tumor cells, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Specifically, re-expression of poly/oligo-sialylated adhesion molecules on the surface of tumor cells disrupts their interaction with immune-effector cells and contributes to pathophysiological immune escape. Further, sialylated glycoproteins induce immunoregulatory cytokines and growth factors through interactions with sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins. We describe the processes, which modulate the interaction between sialylated carrier glycoproteins and their ligands and illustrate that sialic acids could be targets of novel therapeutic strategies for treatment of cancer and immune diseases.