Identification of a non-canonical chondroitin sulfate linkage region trisaccharide

Glycobiology. 2019 May 1;29(5):366-371. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwz014.


It is generally accepted that the biosynthesis of chondroitin sulfate and heparan sulfate is proceeding from a common linkage region tetrasaccharide comprising GlcA-Gal-Gal-Xyl-O-. The linkage region can undergo various modifications such as sulfation, phosphorylation and sialylation, and as the methods for studying glycosaminoglycan structure have been developed and refined, the number of discovered modifications has increased. Previous studies on the linkage region and the glycosyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis suggest that variants of the linkage region tetrasaccharide may also be possible. Here, using LC-MS/MS, we describe a non-canonical linkage region trisaccharide comprising GlcA-Gal-Xyl-O-. The trisaccharide was identified as a minor constituent in the proteoglycan bikunin from urine of human healthy donors present as a disulfated pentasaccharide, ΔHexA-GalNAc(S)-GlcA-Gal(S)-Xyl-O-, after chondroitinase ABC degradation. Furthermore, it was present as the corresponding disulfated pentasaccharide after chondroitinase ABC degradation in chondroitin sulfate primed on xylosides isolated from human cell lines. This linkage region trisaccharide may serve as an alternative point of entry for glycosaminoglycan biosynthesis.

Keywords: glycomics; glycoproteomics; higher-energy collision dissociation (HCD); proteoglycan; xyloside.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Chondroitin ABC Lyase / metabolism
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / chemistry*
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / metabolism
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Glycosaminoglycans / biosynthesis
  • Glycosaminoglycans / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry*
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Chondroitin Sulfates
  • Chondroitin ABC Lyase