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Carbohydr Res. 1991 Jun 25;213:215-27.

The glycosylation of glycoprotein lectins. Intra- and inter-genus variation in N-linked oligosaccharide expression.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Great Britain.


Glycosylated lectins represent a series of glycoproteins with related activities and, in the case of the Leguminosae, related amino acid sequences. Therefore, they offer a model system in which to study the diversity of N-linked oligosaccharide structures of plant glycoproteins. The influence of the polypeptide on the type of oligosaccharide substitution and the problem of inter- and intra-genus variation in glycosylation can also be addressed. Analysis of the glycosylation of 18 lectins has shown that they can be classified into four qualitatively similar groups on the basis of the Bio-Gel P-4 elution profiles of the oligosaccharides released by hydrazinolysis: (a) The Erythrina cristagalli profile, with a major component at 8.8 glucose units (gu) and minor components at 8.0, 7.2, and 5.8 gu. The major component is the heptasaccharide, alpha-D-Manp-(1----3)-[alpha-D-Manp-(1----6)]-[beta-D-Xyl p-(1----2)]- beta-D-Manp-beta-D-GlcpNAc-(1----4)-[alpha-L-Fucp-(1----3)]- D-GlcNAc. (b) The Phaseolus vulgaris profile, which was characterized by peaks at 12.5, 11.7, 10.8, and 9.9 gu, in addition to the peaks at 8.8, 8.0, 7.2, and 5.8 gu mentioned above. These higher-mol.-wt. components were oligo-D-mannose oligosaccharides containing 9, 8, 7, and 6 D-mannose residues, respectively. (c) The Lonchocarpas capassa profile, which had a major peak at approximately 8 gu. (d) The soybean agglutinin profile, which has a single peak at 12.5 gu. This peak consisted solely of an oligomannose undecasaccharide containing 9 D-mannose residues. This lectin is unique in that it shows no microheterogeneity.

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