Phylogenetic conservation of the cell-type-specific Lan3-2 glycoepitope in Caenorhabditis elegans

Harper C. Vansteenhouse, Zachary A. Horton, Robert O'Hagan, Mei Hui Tai, Birgit Zipser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The biological function of a cell-type-specific glycosylation of an adhesion molecule belonging to the L1CAM immunoglobulin superfamily was previously determined in the nervous system of the embryonic leech, Hirudo medicinalis. The Lan3-2 glycoepitope is a surface marker of sensory afferent neurons and is required for their appropriate developmental collateral branching and synaptogenesis in the CNS. The chemical structure of the Lan3-2 glycoepitope consists of β-(1,4)-linked mannopyranose. Here, we show the conservation of the cell-type-specific expression of this mannose polymer in Caenorhabditis elegans. The Lan3-2 glycoepitope is expressed on the cell surface of a subset of dissociated embryonic neurons and, in the adult worm, by the pharyngeal motor neuron, M5, and the chemosensory afferents, the amphids. Additionally, the vulval epithelium expresses the Lan3-2 glycoepitope in late L4 larvae and in adult hermaphrodites. To investigate proteins carrying this restrictively expressed glycoepitope, worm extract was immunoaffinity purified with Lan3-2 monoclonal antibody and Western blotted. A polyclonal antibody reactive with the cytoplasmic tail of LAD-1/SAX-7, a C. elegans member of the L1CAM family, recognizes a 270 kDa protein band while Lan3-2 antibody also recognizes a 190 kDa glycoform, its putative Lan3-2 ectodomain. Thus, in C. elegans, as in leech, the Lan3-2 epitope is located on a L1CAM homologue. The cell-type-specific expression of the Lan3-2 glycoepitope shared by leech and C. elegans will be useful for understanding how cell-type-specific glycoepitopes mediate cell-cell interactions during development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment Genes and Evolution
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Glycans
  • Glycomics
  • L1CAM
  • Leech
  • Mannose


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