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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jul 15;332(4):1020-7.

Novel carboxylated N-glycans contain oligosaccharide-linked glutamic acid.

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Glycobiology Program, The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.


We previously reported that N-glycans from bovine lung contain novel carboxylate groups. Here, we provide evidence that the carboxylated glycans contain glutamic acid. We labeled HeLa cells with [2,3-(3)H]glutamate and used a carboxylate-specific monoclonal antibody to enrich for the desired proteins. PNGaseF digestion of these proteins released labeled N-glycans with a free amino group and 1-3 carboxylates. Mild acid hydrolysis had no effect, but strong acid hydrolysis of the glycans released >80% of the (3)H as glutamate. Reducing the carboxylates to alcohols prior to hydrolysis eliminated the [(3)H]glutamate and generated [(3)H]4-amino 5-hydroxy pentanoic acid, suggesting that [(3)H]glutamate was linked to the glycan through its gamma-carboxyl. The glutamate-containing N-glycans resisted exoglycosidase digestion and oligosaccharide processing inhibitors greatly reduced [(3)H]glutamate incorporation. These results demonstrate that mammalian cells synthesize complex-type N-glycans with glutamate linked to their antennae, further expanding their potential for covalent or ionic interactions.

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