The carbohydrate chains of the bronchial-mucus glycoproteins of six cystic fibrosis patients with blood group O were released by alkaline borohydride treatment. Low-molecular-mass, monosialyl oligosaccharide-alditols were isolated by anion-exchange chromatography and fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography. Structural characterization was performed by 500-MHz 1H-NMR spectroscopy in combination with quantitative sugar analysis. The established structures range in size from tetra- up to heptasaccharides. They are all sialyl analogs of neutral oligosaccharides that were characterized previously [Lamblin G., Boersma A., Lhermitte M., Roussel P., Mutsaers J. H. G. M., Van Halbeek H. & Vliegenthart J. F. G. (1984) Eur. J. Biochem. 143, 227236]. The NeuAc residue was found to occur either in alpha(2->3)-linkage to Gal, or in alpha(2->6)-linkage to GalNAcol or Gal
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