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Kidney Int. 1993 Jan;43(1):66-72.

Role of laminin carbohydrates on cellular interactions.

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Department of BioStructure and Function, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington.


Laminins, a family of large multidomain glycoproteins of the basal lamina, have been implicated in the development and maintenance of cellular and tissue organization. Considerable interest has arisen concerning the ways in which laminin carries out its biological functions. Previously these biologic responses have been primarily attributed to the peptide sequences of laminin, however, newer studies suggest that laminin carbohydrates may also participate in such cellular activities. Recently, a subpopulation of laminin molecules purified from EHS sarcoma by lectin affinity chromatography has been shown to contain about 25 to 30% carbohydrate. Most of the carbohydrates present are complex-type asparagine-linked oligosaccharides encompassing many different structures, some of which are unique to laminin. To date, the biological function of the carbohydrates of laminin remains somewhat unclear. They do not appear to be needed for heparin binding or to enhance proteinase stability, however, current evidence suggests they are important in cellular spreading and neurite outgrowth. It is our hypothesis that in the covalently-linked carbohydrate moieties of laminin will ultimately prove to be involved in information transfer to responsive cells. It is the purpose of this review to delineate current concepts of the structure and function of this unique glycoprotein's sugar chains.

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