The metabolism of O-acyl-N-acylneuraminic acids. Biosynthesis of O-acylated sialic acids in bovine and equine submandibular glands

Eur J Biochem. 1976 Sep 15;68(2):597-610. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1976.tb10848.x.


1. The enzymic synthesis of 4-O-acetylneuraminic acid, 4-O-acetyl-N-glycolyneuraminic acid, 4-O-glycolyl-N-acetylneuraminic acid, 9-O-acetyl-N-acetylneuraminic acid and 9-O-acetyl-N-glycolyneuraminic acid is shown using radioactive precursors with surviving slices, membrane fractions or particle-free homogenates from bovine and equine submandibular glands. 2. Acetyl-CoA: N-acetylneuraminate-9(or 7)-O-acetyltransferase activity was found in a microsome fraction and in the cytosol of bovine submandibular glands. The properties of the membrane-bound enzyme acting on endogenous, glycoprotein-bound N-acetyl- and N-glycolylneuraminic acids were compared with those of the soluble enzyme, O-acetylating exogenous, non-glycosidically bound N-acetyl- and N-glycolyneuraminic acids. 3. A rapid, radioactive assay for the membrane-bound enzyme activity is described. The enzyme activity shows an optimum at pH 7 and has a Km for acetyl-CoA of 0.1 mM. The enzyme is inhibited by p-chloromercuribenzoate and iodoacetate. Divalent cations, EDTA and glutathione have no influence on its activity while CoA proved to be a competitive inhibitor with a Ki of 0.56 mM. 4. The soluble enzyme activity, assayed using a radioactive procedure, shows Km values of 0.01 mM, 0.5 mM and 0.39 mM for acetyl-CoA, N-acetylneuraminic acid and N-glycolylneuraminic acid respectively. The general properties are similar to those found for the membrane-bound enzyme, except that membrane-bound activity is stable for longer on storage at 4 degrees C. 5. Acetyl-CoA, acyl-CoA and CoA concentrations of 33 nmol, 65 nmol and 106 nmol/g wet tissue respectively are found in fresh bovine submandibular glands. 6. The occurrence of the CMP-glycosides of N-acetylneuraminic acid, 9-O-acetyl-N-acetyl-neuraminic acid and N-glycolylneuraminic acid in bovine submandibular glands is demonstrated. 7. The results are discussed in relation to the general metabolism of acylneuraminic acids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Coenzyme A / metabolism
  • Gangliosides / metabolism
  • Horses
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Microsomes / metabolism
  • Sialic Acids / metabolism*
  • Species Specificity
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Submandibular Gland / metabolism*


  • Gangliosides
  • Sialic Acids
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Coenzyme A