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Anal Biochem. 2002 Mar 15;302(2):285-90.

Importance of hyaluronan length in a hyaladherin-based assay for hyaluronan.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Oncology, Centre Henri-Becquerel, Rue d'Amiens, Rouen 76000, France.


Specific hyaladherin-based assays have been set up to measure the concentration of hyaluronan in biological fluids. Hyaluronectin (HN; a hyaladherin extracted from ovine brain) binds to hyaluronan (HA) that must be 10 units (HA10) or more long. It was therefore of interest to determine whether HN would continue to bind to HA10 in full-length HA since conformational changes might mask potential binding sites. We used the enzyme-linked sorbent assay (ELSA) to assay HA and hyaluronan-derived oligosaccharides, with different standard HAs, and the results were compared to results obtained with the carbazole technique. Oligosaccharide length was calculated from the ratio glucuronic acid/reducing N-acetylglucosamine in fractions of hyaluronidase-digested macromolecular hyaluronan prepared by chromatography; the size of the HA12 oligosaccharide was confirmed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry. During the digestion of macromolecular HA with hyaluronidase, the binding of HN to HA first increased and then decreased as shown using the ELSA. The concentration of HA fragments of HA60 and below was overestimated when intact macromolecular HA was used as the reference for the ELSA, while the concentration of HA100 and above was underestimated when HA10 was used as the reference. The binding of HN to HA20, HA40, and HA60 saccharides was consistent with binding to multiples of HA10 sites. In conclusion, the level of HN binding is determined by the conformation of HA, which may mask binding sites. Hence, calibration HA used in the ELSA must be adapted to the size of HA to assay.

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