• The Effect of Polysialic Acid Expression on Glioma Cell Nano-mechanics

      Grant, Colin A.; Twigg, Peter C.; Saeed, Rida F.; Lawson, G.; Falconer, Robert A.; Shnyder, Steven D. (2016-03-01)
      Polysialic acid (PolySia) is an important carbohydrate bio-polymer that is commonly over-expressed on tumours of neuroendocrine origin and plays a key role in tumour progression. PolySia exclusively decorates the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) on tumour cell membranes, modulating cell-cell interactions, motility and invasion. In this preliminary study, we examine the nano-mechanical properties of isogenic C6 rat glioma cells - transfected cells engineered to express the enzyme polysialyltransferase ST8SiaII, which synthesises polySia (C6-STX cells) and wild type cells (C6-WT). We demonstrate that polySia expression leads to reduced elastic and adhesive properties but also more visco-elastic compared to non-expressing wild type cells. Whilst differences in cell elasticity between healthy and cancer cells is regularly assigned to changes in the cytoskeleton, we show that in this model system the change in properties at the nano-level is due to the polySia on the transfected cell membrane surface.