Glycome Profiling of Cancer Cell Lines Cultivated in Physiological and Commercial Media


A complex physiological culture medium (Plasmax) was introduced recently, composed of nutrients and metabolites at concentrations normally found in human plasma to mimic the in vivo environment for cell line cultivation. As glycosylation has been proved to be involved in cancer development, it is necessary to investigate the glycan expression changes in media with different nutrients. In this study, a breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231BR, and a brain cancer cell line, CRL-1620, were cultivated in Plasmax and commercial media to reveal cell line glycosylation discrepancies prompted by nutritional environments. Glycomics analyses of cell lines were performed using LC-MS/MS. The expressions of multiple fucosylated N-glycans, such as HexNAc4Hex3DeoxyHex1 and HexNAc5Hex3DeoxyHex1, derived from both cell lines exhibited a significant increase in Plasmax. Among the O-glycans, significant differences were also observed. Both cell lines cultivated in EMEM had the lowest amounts of O-glycans expressed. The original work described the development of Plasmax, which improves colony formation, and resulted in transcriptomic and metabolomic alterations of cancer cell lines, while our results indicate that Plasmax can significantly impact protein glycosylation. This study also provides information to guide the selection of media for in vitro cancer cell glycomics studies.


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cancer cell line, culturing media, differential expression analysis, glycomics, LC-MS/MS


Wang, J., Peng, W., Yu, A., Fokar, M., & Mechref, Y.. 2022. Glycome Profiling of Cancer Cell Lines Cultivated in Physiological and Commercial Media. Biomolecules, 12(6).