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

Metastatic melanoma cell heparanase. Characterization of heparan sulfate degradation fragments produced by B16 melanoma endoglucuronidase.

Heparan sulfate (HS), a prominent component of vascular endothelial basal lamina, is cleaved into large Mr fragments and solubilized from subendothelial basal lamina-like matrix by metastatic murine B16 melanoma cells. We have examined the degradation products of HS and other purified glycosaminoglycans produced by B16 cells. Glycosaminoglycans 3H-labeled at their reducing termini or metabolically labeled with [35S]sulfate were incubated with B16 cell extracts in the absence or presence of D-saccharic acid 1,4-lactone, a potent exo-beta-glucuronidase inhibitor, and glycosaminoglycan fragments were analyzed by high speed gel permeation chromatography. HS isolated from bovine lung, Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm sarcoma, and subendothelial matrix were degraded into fragments of characteristic Mr, in contrast to hyaluronic acid, chondroitin 6-sulfate, chondroitin 4-sulfate, dermatan sulfate, keratan sulfate, and heparin which were essentially undegraded. Heparin, but not other glycosaminoglycans, inhibited HS degradation. The time dependence of HS degradation into particular Mr fragments indicated that HS was cleaved at specific intrachain sites. In order to determine specific HS cleavage points, HS prereduced with NaBH4 was incubated with a B16 cell extract and HS fragments were separated. The newly formed reducing termini of HS fragments were then reduced with NaB[3H]4, and the fragments hydrolyzed to monosaccharides by trifluoroacetic acid treatment and nitrous acid deamination. Since 3H-reduced terminal monosaccharides from HS fragments were overwhelmingly (greater than 90%) L-gulonic acid, the HS-degrading enzyme responsible is an endoglucuronidase ( heparanase).[1]


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