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J Biol Chem. 1992 Apr 5;267(10):6548-55.

Structural analysis of the linkage region oligosaccharides and unsaturated disaccharides from chondroitin sulfate using CarboPac PA1.

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  • 1Proteoglycan Chemistry Section, National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Swarm rat chondrosarcoma cell cultures were metabolically labeled with [35S]sulfate, [3H]glucose, or [3H]glucosamine. Chondroitin sulfate chains were isolated from purified aggrecan using alkaline borohydride treatment and Superose 6 chromatography. Various linkage region oligosaccharide alditols were derived from these chains using sequential chondroitinase digestions (ABC lyase followed by ACII lyase). They were then further processed by mercuric acetate treatment, which removed the 4,5-unsaturated uronosyl residue from the nonreducing end of the linkage, and then beta-galactosidase digestion which liberated the 2 galactose residues from the xylitol reducing terminus. Alkaline phosphatase digestions were performed to verify the presence of phosphate esters. All linkage region structures were isolated and identified using a combination of Progel-TSK G2500 and CarboPac PA1 chromatography steps in conjunction with monosaccharide analyses. This study revealed that chondroitin sulfate chains from aggrecan synthesized by rat chondrosarcoma cells in vitro have the following properties: 1) three out of every four of their linkage regions carry a phosphate ester on xylose, 2) nearly three out of every five chains begin the repeating disaccharide region with an unsulfated first disaccharide unit, 3) nearly twice as many nonphosphorylated chains have a sulfated first disaccharide than their phosphorylated counterparts, and 4) the vast majority of these chains do not contain sulfated galactose in their linkage regions. This report also describes a borohydride reduction procedure to confer alkali stability to the 3-substituted, unsaturated disaccharides derived from chondroitinase digests of chondroitin sulfate. Furthermore, a CarboPac PA1 method is demonstrated that separates these reduced disaccharides with exceptional resolution.

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