Gangliosides and Related Compounds as Biological Response Modifiers
In the previous chapter1 we already discussed the curious fact that a considerably large number of glycosphingolipids (GSL) occur sporadically in nature and that this sporadic character seemingly makes it difficult to presuppose a special physiological function of these GSL except for practical utility in differentiating individual cells from each other. The significance of individual GSL species as cell surface markers or surface differentiation markers has already been recognized, as in the case of blood group GSL, Forssman antigen, globosides and asialo-GM1 in the subpopulation analysis of the haematopoietic system and in the analysis of developmental and differentiation processes of the haematopoietic system. Thus these markers, though they have no definite intrinsic physiological function, provide a useful tool to analyse these important biological processes at a cellular level. Moreover, we can specifically manipulate or control cell activities in vivo of tumor cells2 and subpopulations of lymphoid cells3, 4 by virtue of such cell marker recognition, for example, using specific antibodies or ligands to these surface markers. We will discuss this problem by taking asialo-GM1 (GA1 or Gg4Cer) ganglioside as representative.
KeywordsNerve Growth Factor Neurite Outgrowth Natural Killer Cell Activity Biological Response Modifier Mouse Hepatitis Virus
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