We have generated a panel of CHO-K1 cell clones with different glycolipid compositions by stable transfection of appropriate glycosyltransferases and studied the morphological and growth phenotype of a clone stably expressing Sial-T2. Compared with the GM3 expressing parental cells, Sial-T2 transfectants show low expression of GM3 and neo expression of GD3 and GT3. These cells show about 60% reduction of the mean cell area, and about 2-fold increase of the mean colony area and growth rate. Cells over expressing Sial-T2 showed a flattened appearance, and with time in culture they detached from the substrate leaving adhered material that was GD3 immunoreactive. No apoptotic or proteome differences could be detected in the Sial-T2 transfectants. Thus, increased expression of GD3 and GT3 influence parameters of growth and social behavior of CHO-K1 cells. However, the molecular and cellular basis underlying these influences requires further investigation.