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

New method for the isolation of polyglycosylceramides from human erythrocyte membranes.

A new procedure was developed for the isolation of long-chain, highly polar glycosphingolipids from human erythrocytes. The membrane material left after extraction of membrane lipids with organic solvents was peracetylated in a mixture of formamide, pyridine and acetic anhydride, and the acetylated products were then extracted with chloroform. The material was fractionated and purified by means of Sephadex LH-20, Sephadex LH-60 and silica-gel chromatography. The final preparations were mixtures of highly polar glycosphingolipids containing from 7 to 31 sugar residues relative to sphingosine. GC-MS analysis of the sugar part of the isolated fractions showed the presence of branched polyglycosyl chains of N-acetyllactosaminyl type. Endo-beta-galactosidase (Bacteroides fragilis) liberated from the deacetylated material two glycosphingolipids, which were identified by fast atom bombardment-mass spectrometry as Hex-Cer and HexNAc-Hex-Hex-Cer with sphingosine and mainly 24 and 22 carbon fatty acids. Endoglycoceramidase (Rhodococcus) degraded polyglycosylceramides to free ceramides and free polysaccharides. The released sugars were fractionated by high-pH ion-exchange chromatography into fractions differing in sialic acid content. The procedure presented in this paper can be used for large and small scale preparations of complex glycosphingolipids. It proved to be especially suitable for screening for polyglycosylceramides in different tissues.[1]


  1. New method for the isolation of polyglycosylceramides from human erythrocyte membranes. Miller-Podraza, H., Andersson, C., Karlsson, K.A. Biochim. Biophys. Acta (1993) [Pubmed]
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