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Eur J Biochem. 1987 Feb 2;162(3):601-7.

Migration of O-acetyl groups in N,O-acetylneuraminic acids.


Highly purified N-acetyl-4-O-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu4,5Ac2), N-acetyl-7-O-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5,7Ac2) and N-acetyl-7,9-di-O-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5,7,9Ac3) were used to study spontaneous migrations of acetyl groups between hydroxyl groups. The techniques applied involved thin-layer chromatography, gas-liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography and 360-MHz 1H-NMR spectroscopy. It was found that at pH values at which no significant de-O-acetylation is observed: (a) Neu5,7Ac2 can easily be transformed into Neu5,9Ac2, (b) Neu5,7,9Ac3 yields an equilibrium of Neu5,7,9Ac3 and Neu5,8,9Ac3 in a molar ratio of approximately 1:1, and (c) Neu4,5Ac2 does not give rise to O-acetyl migrations. The importance of these findings is discussed in terms of the biosynthesis of O-acetylated sialic acids.

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