Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can now be produced from various somatic cell (SC) lines by ectopic expression of the four transcription factors. Although the procedure has been demonstrated to induce global change in gene and microRNA expressions, and even epigenetic modification, it remains largely unknown how this transcription factor-induced reprogramming affects the total glycan repertoire expressed on the cells. Here we performed a comprehensive glycan analysis using 114 types of human iPSCs generated from five different SCs, and compared their glycomes with those of human embryonic stem cells (ESCs, 9 cell types) using a high-density lectin microarray. In unsupervised cluster analysis of the results obtained by lectin microarray, both undifferentiated iPSCs and ESCs were clustered as one large group. However, they were clearly separated from the group of differentiated SCs, while all of the four SCs had apparently distinct glycome profiles from one another, demonstrating that SCs with originally distinct glycan profiles have acquired those similar to ESCs upon induction of pluripotency. Thirty-eight lectins discriminating between SCs and iPSCs/ESCs were statistically selected, and characteristic features of the pluripotent state were then obtained at the level of the cellular glycome. The expression profiles of relevant glycosyltransferase genes agreed well with the results obtained by lectin microarray. Among the 38 lectins, rBC2LCN was found to detect only undifferentiated iPSCs/ESCs, but not differentiated SCs. Hence, the high-density lectin microarray has proved to be valid for not only comprehensive analysis of glycans but also diagnosis of stem cells under the concept cellular glycome.
The article is published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and is free to access.