Developmental changes in intestinal glycosyl-transferase activities

Pediatr Res. 1987 Sep;22(3):250-6. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198709000-00003.


The carbohydrate composition of some intestinal glycoproteins has been demonstrated previously to be modified during development. To evaluate the role of the enzymatic mechanisms of glycosylation, the activities of three soluble and microsomal glycosyl-transferases were studied during postnatal development in rat intestinal mucosa. Nonexistent as soluble forms in the cell sap from suckling rats, the membrane-bound N-acetylgalactosaminyl-, sialyl-, and fucosyl-transferases showed different activities in microsomal fractions before weaning. The N-acetylgalactosaminyl-transferase activity was constant whereas the sialyl-transferase activity, which was maintained at a rather high level until the age of 2 wk, decreased just before weaning, while the fucosyl-transferase activity declined progressively from birth to weaning. After weaning, the three enzymatic activities progressively enhanced until adult age. Their variable behaviors on several glycoprotein acceptors may suggest the presence of several sialyl--and fucosyl-transferases with differences in specificities, varying in different ways according to age. Such developmental modifications in intestinal glycosylation patterns may be linked with certain transformation observed in the carbohydrate level of mucus or membrane-bound glycoproteins and related to the profound modifications in nutritional status at the weaning period.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asialoglycoproteins*
  • Fetuins
  • Fucosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Galactosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / growth & development*
  • Male
  • Microsomes / enzymology
  • N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sialyltransferases / metabolism
  • Transferases / metabolism*
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / analysis


  • Asialoglycoproteins
  • Fetuins
  • alpha-Fetoproteins
  • asialofetuin
  • Transferases
  • Fucosyltransferases
  • Galactosyltransferases
  • N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases
  • UDPgalactosamine-galactose acetylgalactosaminyltransferase
  • Sialyltransferases