A preparation of porcine stage 14 intestinal heparin, which contains Ser as a predominant amino acid, was used for isolation of the carbohydrate-protein linkage region of heparin. Two glycoserines were isolated in a molar ratio of 96:4 after an exhaustive digestion with a mixture of bacterial heparinase and heparitinases. Their structures were determined by composition analysis, heparitinase digestion, co- chromatography with an authentic glycoserine on high performance liquid chromatography, and by 500-MHz one- and two-dimensional 1H NMR spectroscopy. The structure of the major one is delta GlcA beta 1-3Gal beta 1-3Gal beta 1-4Xyl beta 1-O-Ser and that of the minor is delta GlcA beta 1-4GlcNAc(6-O-sulfate) alpha 1-4GlcA beta 1-3Gal beta 1-3Gal beta 1-4Xyl beta 1-O-Ser. The novel 6-O-sulfated GlcNAc residue was demonstrated to occur in the vicinity of the carbohydrate-protein linkage region. The Gal residues were nonsulfated, in contrast to the sulfated Gal structures recently discovered in the carbohydrate-protein linkage region of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans. The structural features are discussed in relation to biosynthetic mechanisms of the heparin glycosaminoglycans
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