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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jul 14;281(28):18942-52. Epub 2006 May 15.

Chondroitin sulfate/dermatan sulfate hybrid chains in the development of cerebellum. Spatiotemporal regulation of the expression of critical disulfated disaccharides by specific sulfotransferases.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Kobe Pharmaceutical University, Higashinada-ku, Kobe 658-8558, Japan.


Chondroitin sulfate/dermatan sulfate (CS/DS) chains regulate the development of the central nervous system in vertebrates. Previously, we demonstrated that CS/DS hybrid chains from embryonic pig brain exhibit neuritogenic and growth factor binding activities, which depended on their IdoUA content defining the DS-like structure. To elucidate the distribution of such functional sugar chains during the development of the brain, in situ hybridization was performed to examine expression of three CS/DS GalNAc 4-O-sulfotransferases, D4ST-1, C4ST-1, and C4ST-2, and a single uronyl 2-O-sulfotransferase (UST) involved in the biosynthesis of DS in addition to CS intermediates. C4ST-1 and C4ST-2 were ubiquitously expressed in the postnatal mouse brain, whereas the expression of D4ST-1 and UST was restricted in the developing cerebellum and culminated at postnatal day 14 as shown by reverse transcriptase-PCR analysis. In situ analysis of the disaccharides of CS/DS in brain sections revealed that the concentration of CS/DS increases 2-fold during development (postnatal day 7 to 7 weeks). The proportions of DS-specific, principal disaccharides, IdoUA-Gal-NAc(4-O-sulfate) (iA) and IdoUA(2-O-sulfate)-GalNAc(4-O-sulfate) (iB), produced by the sequential actions of D4ST-1 and UST, were higher in the CS/DS chains from cerebellum than those from whole brain sections. A dramatic increase (10-fold) in the proportion of iB during development was noteworthy. In contrast, GlcUA/IdoUA(2-O-sulfate)-GalNAc(6-O-sulfate) (D/iD) and GlcUA/IdoUA-GalNAc(4, 6-O-disulfate) (E/iE) decreased to 50 and 30%, respectively, in the developing cerebellum. These results suggest that the IdoUA-containing iA and iB units along with D/iD and E/iE units in the CS/DS hybrid play important roles in the formation of the cerebellar neural network during postnatal brain development.

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