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

Biochemical characterization of hamster oviductin as a sulphated zona pellucida-binding glycoprotein.

Oviductins are a family of glycoproteins, synthesized and released by oviductal secretory cells, which bind to the zona pellucida of the oocyte after ovulation. Hamster oviductin migrates as diffuse species of 160-350 kDa during SDS/PAGE under reducing as well as non-reducing conditions. In this report, we describe the one-step purification of hamster oviductin using either immuno- or lectin-affinity chromatography. Probing with specific lectins showed that the glycoprotein contains terminal alpha-D-GalNAc, and either terminal alpha-D-NeuAc or non-terminal beta-D-(GlcNAc)2 residues, but fails to react with concanavalin A and Ulex Europeus A-1 lectins which are specific for branched alpha-D-mannose and alpha-L-fucose moieties respectively. Intraovarian oocytes do not contain this glycoprotein and we demonstrate here that the immunoaffinity-purified oviductin readily binds to their zonae pellucidae in vitro, thus mimicking the in vivo phenomenon. Two major immunologically related forms of hamster oviductin (named alpha and beta) were characterized using one- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. The alpha-form (160-210 kDa) has an acidic pI of 3.5-4.5 and the beta-form (approx. 210-350 kDa) is localized at the cathodic site in the isoelectric focusing dimension; in between these two major forms lies a smear of minor-charge isomers. Peptide mapping of both major forms with papain and Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease yielded fragments of identical size. Moreover, the two forms share the same N-terminal sequence which display no significant homology with other reported proteins. Treatment with trifluoromethanesulphonic acid showed that a protein with the size and pI of the alpha-form can be generated from the beta-form. Both the alpha- and beta-forms are sulphated on O-linked oligosaccharide side chains but are not phosphorylated. Collectively, these results suggest that the hamster oviductin polymorphism observed in two-dimensional PAGE is a consequence of different glycosylation patterns and not the polypeptide chain itself. Hamster oviductin is mostly O-glycosylated and contains a few N-linked oligosaccharide side chains (approx. 10 kDa). We propose that hamster oviductin is a mucin-type glycoprotein which might act as a protective secretion influencing the first steps of the reproductive process necessary for the normal triggering of fertilization and early embryonic development.[1]


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