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J Biol Chem. 2003 Oct 10;278(41):39711-25. Epub 2003 Aug 7.

Chondroitin sulfate synthase-3. Molecular cloning and characterization.

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  • 1Institute for Molecular Science of Medicine, Aichi Medical University, Nagakute, Aichi 480-1195, Japan.


Recently, it has become evident that chondroitin sulfate (CS) glycosyltransferases, which transfer glucuronic acid and/or N-acetylgalactosamine residues from each UDP-sugar to the nonreducing terminus of the CS chain, form a gene family. We report here a novel human gene (GenBank trade mark accession number AB086062) that possesses a sequence homologous with the human chondroitin sulfate synthase-1 (CSS1) gene, formerly known as chondroitin synthase. The full-length open reading frame consists of 882 amino acids and encodes a typical type II membrane protein. This enzyme contains a beta 3-glycosyltransferase motif and a beta 4-glycosyltransferase motif similar to that found in CSS1. Both the enzymes were expressed in COS-7 cells as soluble proteins, and their enzymatic natures were characterized. Both glucuronyltransferase and N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase activities were observed when chondroitin, CS polymer, and their corresponding oligosaccharides were used as the acceptor substrates, but no polymerization reaction was observed as in the case of CSS1. The new enzyme was thus designated chondroitin sulfate synthase-3 (CSS3). However, the specific activity of CSS3 was much lower than that of CSS1. The reaction products were shown to have a GlcUA beta 1-3GalNAc linkage and a GalNAc beta 1-4GlcUA linkage in the nonreducing terminus of chondroitin resulting from glucuronyltransferase activity and N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase activity, respectively. Quantitative real time PCR analysis revealed that the transcript level of CSS3 was much lower than that of CSS1, although it was ubiquitously expressed in various human tissues. These results indicate that CSS3 is a glycosyltransferase having both glucuronyltransferase and N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase activities. It may make a contribution to CS biosynthesis that differs from that of CSS1.

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