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A characteristic chondroitin sulfate trisaccharide unit with a sulfated fucose branch exhibits neurite outgrowth-promoting activity: Novel biological roles of fucosylated chondroitin sulfates isolated from the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus

Shida, Miharu, Mikami, Tadahisa, Tamura, Jun-ichi, Kitagawa, Hiroshi
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2017 v.487 pp. 678-683
Apostichopus japonicus, chondroitin sulfate, fucose, glucuronic acid, integument, neurites, squid, trisaccharides
Chondroitin sulfate (CS) is a class of sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains that consist of repeating disaccharide unit composed of glucuronic acid (GlcA) and N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc). CS chains are found throughout the pericellular and extracellular spaces and contribute to the formation of functional microenvironments for numerous biological events. However, their structure-function relations remain to be fully characterized. Here, a fucosylated CS (FCS) was isolated from the body wall of the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus. Its promotional effects on neurite outgrowth were assessed by using isolated polysaccharides and the chemically synthesized FCS trisaccharide β-D-GalNAc(4,6-O-disulfate) (1–4)[α-l-fucose (2,4-O-disulfate) (1–3)]-β-D-GlcA. FCS polysaccharides contained the E-type disaccharide unit GlcA-GalNAc(4,6-O-disulfate) as a CS major backbone structure and carried distinct sulfated fucose branches. Despite their relatively lower abundance of E unit, FCS polysaccharides exhibited neurite outgrowth-promoting activity comparable to squid cartilage-derived CS-E polysaccharides, which are characterized by their predominant E units, suggesting potential roles of the fucose branch in neurite outgrowth. Indeed, the chemically synthesized FCS trisaccharide was as effective as CS-E tetrasaccharide in stimulating neurite elongation in vitro. In conclusion, FCS trisaccharide units with 2,4-O-disulfated fucose branches may provide new insights into understanding the structure-function relations of CS chains.