Distinctive Expression Patterns of Heparan Sulfate O-sulfotransferases and Regional Differences in Heparan Sulfate Structure in Chick Limb Buds

J Biol Chem. 2004 Feb 27;279(9):8219-29. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M307304200. Epub 2003 Dec 3.


The skeletal tissue development and patterning in chick limb buds are known to be under the spacio-temporal control of various heparin-binding cell growth factors such as fibroblast growth factors and bone morphogenetic proteins. Different structural regions on heparan sulfate (HS) chains of proteoglycans could be implicated in regional differences in the binding capacities of these cell growth factors, by which they could selectively interact with targeted cells and regulate their signaling in those processes. In this study we first demonstrated by cDNA cloning that one heparan sulfate 2-O-sulfotransferase (HS2ST) and two isoforms of heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase (HS6ST-1 and -2) occurred in chick embryos and had different substrate specificities each other. We next showed by whole mount in situ hybridization that the HS6ST-1 and HS6ST-2 transcripts were preferentially localized to the anterior proximal region and at the posterior proximal region of the limb bud, respectively, whereas the HS2ST transcript was distributed rather uniformly throughout the bud. Analyses of the structures of HS from different regions of the wing buds have shown variation in that 6-O-sulfated residues are more abundant in the proximal than distal region, whereas iduronosyl 6-O-sulfated residues are abundant in the anterior proximal region and glucuronosyl 6-O-sulfated residues in the posterior proximal region. These results suggest that HS with different sulfation patterns created with multiple sulfotransferase activities provides an appropriate extracellular environment for morphogenetic signal transduction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Chick Embryo
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Extremities / embryology*
  • Gene Expression*
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Morphogenesis
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Sulfotransferases / chemistry
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics*
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Wings, Animal / embryology


  • DNA, Complementary
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • Sulfotransferases
  • heparan sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase
  • heparan-sulfate 2-sulfotransferase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB071190
  • GENBANK/AB093515
  • GENBANK/AB093516