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J Biol Chem. 1993 Dec 15;268(35):26679-85.

Characterization of placentation-specific binucleate cell glycoproteins possessing a novel carbohydrate. Evidence for a new family of pregnancy-associated molecules.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, Australia.


The ovine binucleate cell-specific glycoproteins recognized by the monoclonal antibody SBU-3 first appear at the initiation of placentation, and their expression continues throughout gestation. These placenta-specific proteins have not been detected in any other adult or fetal sheep tissues and are specific to the materno-fetal interface. The SBU-3 monoclonal antibody recognizes the carbohydrate epitope common to a group of proteins ranging in molecular mass from 30 to 200 kDa whose function during pregnancy remains undefined. The biochemical properties of these uniquely expressed glycoproteins were investigated by analyzing both the carbohydrate and protein portion of the molecules. Analysis of phytohemagglutinin and concanavalin A binding to electrophoretically separated SBU-3 proteins revealed that the major proteins between 40 and 70 kDa bind phytohemagglutinin. In contrast, concanavalin A bound only to minor proteins in the SBU-3 glycoprotein preparation. Analysis of the carbohydrate conjugated to the SBU-3 glycoproteins revealed that the major chains are sialylated O-linked and complex partially sialylated multiple antennary N-linked chains. The presence of N-glycolylneuraminic acid in an N-linked structure indicates the unique nature of this carbohydrate epitope. The differential binding to phytohemagglutinin and concanavalin A provided a method for further purification and characterization of the major protein components with monoclonal antibody immunoaffinity-purified SBU-3 proteins being further separated by concanavalin A-Sepharose chromatography. Microsequence analysis of the major non-concanavalin A-binding proteins (69, 62, and 57 kDa) revealed partial homology to ovine and bovine pregnancy-associated glycoprotein and rabbit pepsinogen F. Immunoblot analysis of the SBU-3 proteins showed cross-reactivity with polyclonal antisera directed against ovine placental-associated glycoprotein and pregnancy-specific glycoprotein B. These results suggest that together these glycoproteins represent members of a binucleate cell-derived family of pregnancy-associated molecules in the ruminant placenta.

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