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Eur J Biochem. 1999 Dec;266(2):370-82.

Acquisition of species-specific O-linked carbohydrate chains from oviducal mucins in Rana arvalis. A case study.

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Laboratoire de Chimie Biologique, Unité Mixte de Recherche du Centre Nacional de la Recherche Scientifique n8576, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France.


The extracellular matrix surrounding amphibian eggs is composed of mucin-type glycoproteins, highly O-glycosylated and plays an important role in the fertilization process. Oligosaccharide-alditols were released from the oviducal mucins of the anuran Rana arvalis by alkali-borohydride treatment in reduced conditions. Neutral and acidic oligosaccharides were fractionated by ion-exchange chromatographies and purified by HPLC. Each compound was identified by matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy, electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectroscopy (ESI-MS/MS) and permethylation analyses. This paper reports on the structures of 19 oligosaccharide-alditols, 12 of which have novel structures. These structures range in size from disaccharide to octasaccharide. Some of them are acidic, containing either a glucuronic acid or, more frequently, a sulfate group, located either at the 6 position of GlcNAc or the 3 or 4 positions of Gal. This latter sulfation is novel and has only been characterized in the species R. arvalis. This structural analysis led to the establishment of several novel carbohydrate structures, demonstrating the structural diversity and species-specificity of amphibian glycoconjugates.

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