Heparan sulfate and heparin are highly sulfated polysaccharides that consist of a repeating disaccharide unit of glucosamine and glucuronic or iduronic acid. The 2-O-sulfated iduronic acid (IdoA2S) residue is commonly found in heparan sulfate and heparin; however, 2-O-sulfated glucuronic acid (GlcA2S) is a less abundant monosaccharide (∼<5% of total saccharides). Here, we report the synthesis of three GlcA2S-containing hexasaccharides using a chemoenzymatic approach. For comparison purposes, additional IdoA2S-containing hexasaccharides were synthesized. Nuclear magnetic resonance analyses were performed to obtain full chemical shift assignments for the GlcA2S- and IdoA2S-hexasaccharides. These data show that GlcA2S is a more structurally rigid saccharide residue than IdoA2S. The antithrombin (AT) binding affinities of a GlcA2S- and an IdoA2S-hexasaccharide were determined by affinity co-electrophoresis. In contrast to IdoA2S-hexasaccharides, the GlcA2S-hexasaccharide does not bind to AT, confirming that the presence of IdoA2S is critically important for the anticoagulant activity. The availability of pure synthetic GlcA2S-containing oligosaccharides will allow the investigation of the structure and activity relationships of individual sites in heparin or heparan sulfate.
Keywords: chemoenzymatic synthesis; heparan sulfate; heparin; oligosaccharides; sulfotransferase.
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