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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jan 11;277(2):1443-50. Epub 2001 Nov 5.

Functional analysis of the chondroitin 6-sulfotransferase gene in relation to lymphocyte subpopulations, brain development, and oversulfated chondroitin sulfates.

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Department of Biochemistry, the Laboratory of Host Defense & Germfree Life, Research Institute for Disease Mechanism and Control, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.


Chondroitin 6-sulfotransferase (C6ST) catalyzes the transfer of sulfate to position 6 of the N-acetylgalactosamine residue of chondroitin. To obtain direct evidence regarding the function of C6ST and its product, chondroitin 6-sulfate, in vivo, we isolated the mouse C6ST gene (C6st) and generated mice deficient in this gene (C6st(-/-)) by embryonic stem cell technology. C6st(-/-) mice were born at approximately the expected frequency and were viable through adulthood. In the spleen of C6st(-/-) mice, the level of chondroitin 6-sulfate became almost undetectable. Analyses of these knockout mice provided insights into the biosynthesis of oversulfated chondroitin sulfates in mice; chondroitin sulfate D in the brain of null mice and the cartilage and telencephalon of null embryos disappeared, whereas the chondroitin sulfate E level in the spleen and brain of the null mice was unchanged. Despite the disappearance of chondroitin sulfate D structure, brain development was normal in the C6st(-/-) mice. Further analysis revealed that the number of CD62L(+)CD44(low) T lymphocytes corresponding to naive T lymphocytes in the spleen of 5-6-week-old C6st(-/-) mice was significantly decreased, whereas those in other secondary lymphoid organs were unchanged. This finding suggested that chondroitin 6-sulfate plays a role in the maintenance of naive T lymphocytes in the spleen of young mice.

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