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, 267 (24), 16934-8

Biosynthesis of a Nonphysiological Sialic Acid in Different Rat Organs, Using N-propanoyl-D-hexosamines as Precursors

  • PMID: 1512235

Biosynthesis of a Nonphysiological Sialic Acid in Different Rat Organs, Using N-propanoyl-D-hexosamines as Precursors

H Kayser et al. J Biol Chem.


In this study it could be shown that in rat the normally occurring N-acetyl neuraminic acid can be modified in its N-acyl moiety by in vivo administration of the chemically synthesized N-propanoyl precursors, N-propanoyl-D-glucosamine or N-propanoyl-D-mannosamine. It could be shown that each of these nonphysiological amino sugar analogues was incorporated into both membrane and serum glycoproteins. After treatment of rats with radiolabeled N-[acyl-1-14C]D-mannosamine, radioactivity could be removed from serum glycoprotein fractions by incubation with neuraminidase from Clostridium perfringens or from Arthrobacter ureafaciens. Mild acid hydrolysis removed 98% of the radioactivity after in vivo labeling with N-[acetyl-1-14C]D-mannosamine and 86% after labeling with N-[propanoyl-1-14C]D-mannosamine. Chromatographic analysis yielded two compounds, i.e. N-acetyl neuraminic acid and N-propanoyl neuraminic acid, the latter being identified by gas liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry studies. Measurement of protein-bound radioactivity in different rat organs revealed a different organotropy of the natural and the nonphysiological neuraminic acid precursor. Of the glucosamine derivatives, N-acetyl-D-glucosamine showed the higher rate of uptake and incorporation in most organs (except in the submandibulary gland), and especially in kidney cortex and Morris hepatoma 7777. Natural and the unphysiological mannosamine derivatives were incorporated at similar rates, except in liver, where N-acetyl-D-mannosamine was taken up and metabolized more effectively. This finding indicates that it is possible to modify the acyl group of N-acetyl neuraminic acid in vivo by the introduction of an N-propanoyl group and possibly other homologous N-acyl groups. This procedure may provide a tool for a further characterization of the biological function of sialic acids.

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