The Biochemical journal

Two linkage-region fragments isolated from skeletal keratan sulphate contain a sulphated N-acetylglucosamine residue.

PMID 2142881


Peptido-keratan sulphate fragments were isolated from the nucleus pulposus of bovine intervertebral discs (6-year-old animals) after chondroitin ABC lyase digestion followed by digestion of A1D1 proteoglycans by diphenylcarbamoyl chloride-treated trypsin and gel-permeation chromatography on Sepharose CL-6B. Treatment of these peptido-keratan sulphate fragments with alkaline NaB3H4 yielded keratan sulphate chains with [3H]galactosaminitol end-labels, and these chains were further purified by gel-permeation chromatography on Sephadex G-50 and ion-exchange chromatography on a Pharmacia Mono-Q column in order to exclude any contamination with O-linked oligosaccharides. The chains were then treated with keratanase, and the digest was chromatographed on a Bio-Gel P-4 column followed by anion-exchange chromatography on a Nucleosil 5 SB column. Two oligosaccharides, each representing 18% of the recovered radiolabel, were examined by 500 MHz 1H-n.m.r. spectroscopy, and shown to have the following structures: [formula: see text] The structure of oligosaccharide (I) confirms the N-acetylneuraminylgalactose substitution at position 3 of N-acetylgalactosamine in the keratan sulphate-protein linkage region found by Hopwood & Robinson [(1974) Biochem. J. 141, 57-69] but additionally shows the presence of a 6-sulphated N-acetylglucosamine. Electron micro-probe analysis specifically confirmed the presence of sulphur in this sample. This sulphate ester group differentiates the keratan sulphate linkage region from similar structures derived from O-linked oligosaccharides [Lohmander, De Luca, Nilsson, Hascall, Caputo, Kimura & Heinegård (1980) J. Biol. Chem. 255, 6084-6091].