Use of Flow Cytometry for Characterization and Fractionation of Cell Populations Based on Their Expression of Heparan Sulfate Epitopes

  • Rebecca J. Holley
  • Raymond A. Smith
  • Els M. A. van de Westerlo
  • Claire E. Pickford
  • C. L. R. MerryEmail author
  • Toin H. van Kuppevelt
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1229)


The ability to characterize alterations in heparan sulfate (HS) structure during development or as a result of loss or mutation of one or more components of the HS biosynthetic pathway is essential for broad understanding of the effects these changes may have on cell/tissue function. The use of anti-HS antibodies provides an opportunity to study HS chain composition in situ, with a multitude of different antibodies having been generated that recognize subtle differences in HS patterning, with the number and positioning of sulfate groups influencing antibody binding affinity. Flow cytometry is a valuable technique to enable the rapid characterization of the changes in HS-specific antibody binding in situ, allowing multiple cell types to be directly compared. Additionally fluorescent-activated cell sorting (FACS) allows fractionation of cells based on their HS-epitope expression.

Key words

Flow cytometry FACS Heparan sulfate Glycosaminoglycan Phage-display scFv antibody 



This work is supported by a strategic award from the Medical Research Council (UK) and British Heart Foundation (G0902170), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/H046070/1), the Dutch Cancer Society (2008-4058) and the Netherlands Institute of Regenerative medicine (2.5).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca J. Holley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Raymond A. Smith
    • 2
  • Els M. A. van de Westerlo
    • 3
  • Claire E. Pickford
    • 2
  • C. L. R. Merry
    • 2
    Email author
  • Toin H. van Kuppevelt
    • 3
  1. 1.Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Matrix Research, Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Stem Cell Glycobiology Group, School of MaterialsUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life SciencesRadboud University Medical CentreNijmegenThe Netherlands

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