SSEA-4 is epitopes on related glycosphingolipids (GSLs), termed GL-7. The GSLs of globo-series feature a Galα1–4Gal linkage to lactosylceramides, and this linkage is catalyzed by the lactosylceramide 4-alpha-galactosyltransferase, encoded by the A4GALT gene. "stage-specific embryonic antigen-4" (SSEA-4) is cell-surface marker widely used to define human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). GSLs also have been observed in tumors: SSEA-4 is expressed not only on breast cancer cells but also on breast cancer stem cells. high-level expression of SSEA-4 is observed in renal cell carcinoma.
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