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Glycobiology. 2003 Jan;13(1):35-42. Epub 2002 Oct 30.

Glycosaminoglycan structures required for strong binding to midkine, a heparin-binding growth factor.

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Department of Biochemistry, Nagoya University School of Medicine, 65 Tsurumai-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya 466-8550, Japan.


Midkine (MK), a heparin-binding growth factor, binds strongly to oversulfated structures in chondroitin sulfates (CSs) and heparan sulfate. To elucidate the carbohydrate structure actually involved in the strong binding, dissected brains from 13-day mouse embryos were incubated with [14C]-glucosamine. The labeled glycosaminoglycans were fractionated by MK-agarose affinity chromatography to a weakly binding fraction, which was eluted by 0.5 M NaCl, and a strongly binding fraction, which was eluted by higher NaCl concentrations. Among the unsaturated disaccharides released from the strongly binding fraction by chondroitinase ABC, DeltaDi-diSE with 4,6-disulfated N-acetylgalactosamine accounted for 32.3%, whereas its content was lower in the weakly binding fraction. Artificial CS-E structure was formed using N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase purified from squid or recombinant human enzyme. Analysis of the products and their interaction with MK revealed that E units without 3-O-sulfation of glucuronic acid are sufficient for strong binding, provided that they are present as a dense cluster. Among the sulfated disaccharides released by heparitinase digestion, the trisulfated one, DeltaDiHS-triS, was the most abundant in the strongly binding fraction and was lower in the weakly binding fraction. Together with results of previous studies, we concluded that the multivalent trisulfated heparin-like unit is another structure involved in strong binding to MK.

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