Complex type N-glycosides of commercial bovine fetuin preparations from pooled fetal calf serum have been shown to contain comparable amounts of Gal4, 4, 4TRI (see structure A below) and Gal4, 4, 3TRI (structure B) as major asialo-structures. To investigate whether there is a clear genetic specificity for synthesis of these oligosaccharides, N-glycosides from two preparations of bovine fetuin, each from a single calf, were examined. Both of these structures were present in each calf, and there was only a subtle quantitative difference in the ratio of these two structures between the calves. Thus, a specific galactosyltransferase, presumably required for the biosynthesis of the Gal4, 4, 3TRI structure, may exist in both of these individual calves. Comparison of fetuin N-glycosides was also extended to sheep, pig, and human α2-HS-glycoprotein, the human counterpart of bovine fetuin, using high-pH anion-exchange chromatography of the reducing oligosaccharides as well as HPLC of their pyridinylamino derivatives. The N-glycosides of ovine fetuin also have both Gal4, 4, 4TRI and Gal4, 4, 3TRI structures in a ratio similar to that of bovine fetuin. However, the major N-glycoside of porcine fetuin is of a fucosyl biantennary complex type structure (structure C below) and human α2-HS-glycoprotein has an N-glycoside which is almost exclusively a nonfucosylated biantennary structure (structure D). This species-specific presence of N-glycosides of fetuins and comparison with N-glycosides of other glycoproteins suggest that the polypeptide sequence of a glycoprotein may affect its N-glycan structure by regulating the activity of specific glycosyltransferases.
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