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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Degradation of heparin proteoglycan in cultured mouse mastocytoma cells.

Pulse-labelling of mouse mastocytoma cell cultures, established from ascites fluid, with inorganic [35S]sulphate for 1 h yielded labelled heparin proteoglycan containing polysaccharide chains of Mr 60,000-100,000. After chase incubation for 24 h most of the 35S appeared in intracellular polysaccharide fragments similar in size to commercially available heparin, Mr 5000-25,000, as indicated by gel chromatography. Products isolated from cultures after 6 h of chase incubation consisted of partially degraded free polysaccharide chains and, in addition, residual proteoglycans that were of smaller size than the proteoglycans initially pulse-labelled. The polysaccharide chains released by alkali treatment from the residual chase-incubated proteoglycans were of the same size as the chains derived from proteoglycans after 1 h of pulse labelling. These results suggest that the intracellular degradation of heparin proteoglycan to polysaccharide fragments is initiated by release of intact polysaccharide chains, probably by action of a peptidase, and is pursued through cleavage of these chains by an endoglycosidase. An endoglucuronidase with stringent substrate specificity [Thunberg, Bäckström, Wasteson, Ogren & Lindahl (1982) J. Biol. Chem. 257, 10278-10282] has previously been implicated in the latter step. Cultures of more purified mastocytoma cells (essentially devoid of macrophages) did not metabolize [35S]heparin proteoglycan to polysaccharide fragments, but instead accumulated free intact polysaccharide chains, i.e. the postulated intermediate of the complete degradation pathway. When such purified cells were co-cultured with adherent mouse peritoneal cells, presumably macrophages, formation of polysaccharide fragments was observed. It is tentatively proposed that the expression of endoglucuronidase activity by the mast cells depends on collaboration between these cells and macrophages.[1]


  1. Degradation of heparin proteoglycan in cultured mouse mastocytoma cells. Jacobsson, K.G., Lindahl, U. Biochem. J. (1987) [Pubmed]
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