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Microbiol Immunol. 2013 Aug;57(8):569-82. doi: 10.1111/1348-0421.12076.

Possible association of Neu2 with plasma membrane fraction from mouse thymus exhibited sialidase activity with fetuin at pH 7.0 but not at pH 4.5.

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  • 1Institute of Immunology/Institute for Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University, N15 W7, Sapporo, 060-0815, Japan.


Compared to other organs, the mouse thymus exhibits a high level of sialidase activity in both the soluble and crude membrane fractions, as measured at neutral pH using 4MU-Neu5Ac as a substrate. The main purpose of the present study was to identify the sialidase with a high level of the activity at neutral pH in the crude membrane. Several parameters were analyzed using the soluble (S) fraction, N and D fractions that were obtained by NP-40 or DOC/NP-40 solubilization from the thymus crude membrane. The main sialidase activity in the N fraction exhibited almost the same pI as that of soluble Neu2 and 60% of the activity was removed from the membrane by three washes with 10 mM Tris-buffer, at pH 7.0. The N fraction preferentially hydrolyzed the sialic acid bond of glycoprotein and exhibited sialidase activity with fetuin at pH 7.0 but not at pH 4.5. The same activity was observed in a plasma membrane-rich fraction. To date, the removal of sialic acid from fetuin at pH 7.0 was reported only with soluble Neu2 and the membrane fraction from Neu2-transfected COS cells. We analyzed the gene that controls the sialidase activity in the crude membrane fraction at pH 7.0 using SMXA recombinant mice and found that compared with other three genes, Neu2 presented the best correlation with the activity level. We suggest that Neu2 is most likely responsible for the main activity in the N fraction, due to its association with the membrane by an unknown mechanism.


Neu2; membrane-associated; plasma membrane; thymus

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