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Biochem J. 1978 Sep 15;174(3):673-80.

The biosynthesis of brain gangliosides. Ganglioside-glycosylating activity in rat brain neuronal perikarya fraction.


Rat brain homogenate and the synaptosmal and neuronal perikarya fractions from 17-day-old rats were compared for their activities in sialosylating endogenous gangliosides and transferring N-acetylneuraminic acid and galactose to several glycolipids in vitro. The sialosylation of endogenous gangliosides and the activities of sialosyltransferases acting either on lactosylceramide or haematoside as acceptors, as well as galactosyltransferase acting on Tay-Sachs ganglioside as acceptor, were between 3-and 12-fold higher in the neuronal perikarya fraction than in whole homgenate on a protein or ganglioside basis. The activities found in the synaptosomal fraction were negligible. No evidence was found to indicate that the low activities in this fraction were due to the presence of inhibitors of the transfer activities or to inacessibility of the substrates to their respective enzymes. These findings, and the time course of labelling of gangliosides of the neuronal perikarya and synaptosomes from rats that received an injection of N-[3H]acetylmannosamine, indicate that the main cellular site of glycosylation of neuronal gangliosides is in the neuronal perikarya.

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