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J Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 24;281(8):4654-62. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

3-O-sulfated oligosaccharide structures are recognized by anti-heparan sulfate antibody HS4C3.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Antibodies against heparan sulfate (HS) are useful tools to study the structural diversity of HS. They demonstrate the large sequential variation within HS and show the distribution of HS oligosaccharide sequences within their natural environment. We analyzed the distribution and the structural characteristics of the oligosaccharide epitope recognized by anti-HS antibody HS4C3. Biosynthetic and synthetic heparin-related oligosaccharide libraries were used in affinity chromatography, immunoprecipitation, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to identify this epitope as a 3-O-sulfated motif with antithrombin binding capacity. The antibody binds weakly to any N-sulfated, 2-O- and 6-O-sulfated hexa- to octasaccharide fragment but strongly to the corresponding oligosaccharide when there is a 3-O-sulfated glucosamine residue present in the sequence. This difference was highlighted by affinity interaction and immunohistochemistry at salt concentrations from 500 mm. At physiological salt conditions the antibody strongly recognized basal lamina of epithelia and endothelia. At 500 mm salt conditions, when 3-O sulfation is required for binding, antibody recognition was more restricted and selective. Antibody HS4C3 bound similar tissue structures as antithrombin in rat kidney. Furthermore, antithrombin and antibody HS4C3 could compete with one another for binding to heparin. Antibody HS4C3 was also able to inhibit the anti-coagulant activities of heparin and Arixtra as demonstrated using the activated partial thromboplastin time clotting and the anti-factor Xa assays. In summary, antibody HS4C3 selectively detects 3-O-sulfated HS structures and interferes with the coagulation activities of heparin by association with the anti-thrombin binding pentasaccharide sequence.

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