Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract The MUC1 glycoprotein, epitectin, a component of the human bladder epithelium, was purified from human urine. Sedimentation equilibrium analysis and gel filtration using polysaccharide or protein standards revealed a polydisperse preparation with molecular weights ranging from about 0.9 to 1.3×106. This suggests that in the native state epitectin exists as aggregates of three or four monomer units of 350–400 kDa. Epitectin was found to have significant affinity to hexyl-, octyl- or phenyl agarose indicating that hydrophobic interactions and possibly carbohydrate-carbohydrate interactions may be responsible for the self-association. Chemical and enzymic deglycosylation of [125I]-labeled urine epitectin and metabolically labeled H.Ep.2 epitectin resulted in extremely polydisperse products. The buoyant densities of epitectin purified from urine and H.Ep.2 cells were found to be 1.39–1.40 g ml–1, suggesting that the total carbohydrate content of these preparations is not significantly different. The O-linked saccharides of epitectin were fractionated by HPLC and analyzed by permethylation and FAB-MS. The neutral saccharides from both sources 001contain three common structures, namely Gal1→3GalNAc, GlcNAc1→6 (Gal1→3) GalNAc and Gal1→4 GlcNAc→6 (Gal1→3)GalNAc. The sialic acid of urine epitectin consisted entirely of N-acetylneuraminic acid. The two sources of epitectin, in vitro labeled on sialic acid, were found to have the same sialyl oligosaccharides but in different proportions. Metabolic labeling and N-glycanase susceptibility experiments firmly established the presence of N-linked saccharides in epitectin as minor components. The remarkable similarities in the total carbohydrate content, the carbohydrate composition and structures of saccharides between epitectin from urine, a non-malignant source, and H.Ep.2 cells is surprising in view of the prevailing view that MUC1 glycoproteins of cancer cells are underglycosylated compared to those produced by non-malignant cells.
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