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J Virol. 1993 Feb;67(2):943-52.

Complex-type N-linked oligosaccharides of gp120 from human immunodeficiency virus type 1 contain sulfated N-acetylglucosamine.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City 73104.


The major envelope glycoproteins gp120 and gp41 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1, the causative agent for human AIDS, contain numerous N-linked oligosaccharides. We report here our discovery that N-acetylglucosamine residues within the complex-type N-linked oligosaccharides of both gp120 and its precursor, gp160, are sulfated. When human Molt-3 cells persistently infected with human T-cell leukemia virus IIIB were metabolically radiolabeled with 35SO4, gp160, gp120, and to some extent gp41 were radiolabeled. The 35SO4-labeled oligosaccharides were quantitatively released by N-glycanase treatment and were bound by immobilized Ricinus communis agglutinin I, a lectin that binds to terminal beta-galactosyl residues. The kinetics of release of sulfate upon acid hydrolysis from 35SO4-labeled gp120 indicate that sulfation occurs in a primary sulfate ester linkage. Methylation analysis of total glycopeptides from Molt-3 cells metabolically radiolabeled with [3H]glucosamine demonstrates that sulfation occurs at the C-6 position of N-acetylglucosamine. Fragmentation of the gp120-derived 35SO4-labeled glycopeptides by treatment with hydrazine and nitrous acid and subsequent reduction generated galactosyl-anhydromannitol-6-35SO4, which is the expected reaction product from GlcNAc-6-sulfate within a sulfated lactosamine moiety. Charge analysis of the [3H]galactose- and [3H]glucosamine-labeled glycopeptides from gp120 and gp160 indicates that approximately 14% of the complex-type N-linked oligosaccharides are sulfated.

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