Unusual β-D-xylosides that prime glycosaminoglycans in animal cells

Fulgentius N. Lugemwa, Arun K. Sarkar, Jeffrey D. Esko

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46 Scopus citations


The biosynthesis of glycosaminoglycans (GAG) takes place while the polysaccharide chains are usually attached to a proteoglycan core protein. Cells also will assemble GAG chains on β-D-xylosides containing hydrophobic aglycones. In order to evaluate the relationship of the structure of the sugar to priming activity of the glycoside, we synthesized β-D-xyloside analogs in which the hydroxyls were substituted with hydrogen, fluorine, - O-methyl, amino, -O-isopropyl, and -O-benzyl groups. Epimers at the 2-, 3-, and 4-position of xylose also were made. Their ability to prime GAGs was tested in Chinese hamster ovary cells by measuring 35SO4 incorporation into polysaccharide chains and by assaying the transfer of galactose to the xylosides by galactosyltransferase I (UDP-D-galactose:xylose β1-4- galactosyltransferase) in vitro. All of the analogs failed to act as primers of GAGs in vivo and as substrates in vitro with the following exceptions. Substitution of 2-OH and 3-OH with -OCH3 were active at high concentration (1 mM), but the deoxygenated derivatives were inactive. Efficient priming also occurred on a derivative with fluorine instead of the 3-OH group, suggesting that the oxygen atoms at C-2 and C-3 were involved as hydrogen bond acceptors. Methylated and deoxy analogs at C-4 were inactive, due to the loss of the acceptor hydroxyl group. Interestingly, benzyl-β-D-threo- pentopyranos-4-uloside (4-keto derivative) and benzyl-4-methyl-β-D- xyloside, with a methyl group in place of an axial hydrogen at C-4, primed GAG chains. Priming by these unusual xylosides suggests the possibility of designing inhibitors of GAG synthesis based on xyloside analogs with reactive groups in key positions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19159-19165
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number32
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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