Enhanced channelling of sulphate through a rapidly exchangeable sulphate pool in response to stimulated glycosaminoglycan synthesis in pancreatic epithelial cells

Warren G. Hill, Gregory S. Harper, Tina Rozaklis, John J. Hopwood

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The ability of cells to decorate glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) with sulphate in highly specific patterns is important to extracellular matrix biogenesis and placing appropriate glycosulphated ligands on the cell surface. We have examined sulphate metabolism in two pancreatic duct epithelial cell lines - PANC-1 and CFPAC-1 (derived from a cystic fibrosis patient) with a view to understanding how pancreatic cells utilise intracellular sulphate. [35S]Sulphate uptake was rapid and reached near steady state levels within 10 min. However, the intracellular specific activity of [35S]sulphate for PANC-1 and CFPAC-1 reached only 35 and 10%, respectively, of the medium specific activity at 10 min. Therefore, sulphate appears to reside within two compartments; a rapidly exchangeable sulphate pool (RESP) and a slowly exchangeable sulphate pool (SESP). Reducing chloride in the medium, increased the specific activity of [35S]sulphate within cells and increased the size of the inorganic sulphate pool, suggesting that the RESP was enlarged. Sulphate pools were not different in size between the two cell lines in physiological NaCl. Increasing the size of the sulphate pool had no effect on [35S]sulphate:[3H]glucosamine ratios incorporated into glycosaminoglycans (GAGs); however, stimulating the synthesis of GAGs with 4-methylumbelliferyl-β-D-xyloside, stably elevated [35S]:[3H] ratios. This was due to higher [35S]sulphate incorporation. [35S]Cysteine contributed less than 0.1% of the cells' sulphate requirements. We conclude that in the face of elevated demand for sulphate, pancreatic cells appear to channel a greater proportion through the RESP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-182
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 1999


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Pancreatic cell
  • Sulfate metabolism
  • Sulfate pool
  • Sulfation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology

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