Oligosaccharide structures of human colonic mucin

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209 Scopus citations


Purified human colonic mucin was separated into six distinct components by DEAE-cellulose chromatography, and the structures of oligosaccharide side chains from the three most abundant species were determined. Oligosaccharide side chains were isolated from colonic mucin species III, IV, and V after alkaline borohydride reductive cleavage in the presence of sodium borotritide. After initial separation of acidic and neutral oligosaccharides by ion exchange chromatography, individual oligosaccharides were isolated by sequential chromatography on Bio-Gel P-4 and Bio-Gel P-2 resins followed by preparative normal phase high performance liquid chromatography. Composition and structure of individual oligosaccharides were determined by combination of gas chromatography, methylation analysis, and sequential glycosidase digestion. Collectively, 21 discrete oligosaccharide structures were identified in the major human colonic mucin species including 10 acidic oligosaccharides and 11 neutral structures which ranged in size from 2 to 12 sugar residues. Although detailed structures were defined for each oligosaccharide, the majority of the structures identified were variations of a relatively small number of 'basic' structures, and several generalizations pertained. First, many oligosaccharides represented variations of a biantennary structure in which branch chains arise in N-acetylglucosaminyl residues linked to C3 and C6 of a galactosyl residue linked in turn to a GlcNAcβ(1-3)GalNAc core; second, nonbranched oligosaccharides appeared to be linear chain derivatives of the same core structure; third, all acidic oligosaccharides could be derived from neutral structures present in the mucin species; fourth, sialic acid substitution was limited to few sites and always included substitution in α2-6 linkage to the reducing terminal N-acetylgalactosamine, and finally several structures contained both sialic acid and fucose residues. Individually, mucin species III, IV, and V were found to contain unique mixtures of 13, 14, and 10 oligosaccharide structures, respectively. These data demonstrate that human colonic mucin contain a wide range of oligosaccharides reflecting variations of common core oligosaccharide structures. The major chromatographically defined constituents of normal colonic mucin appear to possess characteristic and distinguishable combinations of oligosaccharide structures. These findings support the concept that colonic mucin contains structurally and functionally distinct subpopulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8262-8271
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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