Molecular characterization of Xenopus embryo heparan sulfate: Differential structural requirements for the specific binding to basic fibroblast growth factor and follistatin

Yukari Yamane, Rie Tohno-oka, Shuhei Yamada, Shigeki Furuya, Koichiro Shiokawa, Yoshio Hirabayashi, Hiromu Sugino, Kazuyuki Sugahara

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Enzymatic elimination of heparan sulfate (HS) causes abnormal mesodermal and neural formation in Xenopus embryos, and HS plays an indispensable role in establishing the embryogenesis and tissue morphogenesis during early Xenopus development (Furuya, S., Sera, M., Tohno-oka, R., Sugahara, K., Shiokawa, K., and Hirabayashi, Y. (1995) Dev. Growth Differ. 37, 337-346). In this study, HS was purified from Xenopus embryos to investigate its disaecharide composition and binding ability to basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and follistatin (FS), the latter being provided in two isoforms with core sequences of 315 and 288 amino acids (designated FS-315 and FS- 288) originating from alternative mRNA splicing. Disaccharide composition analysis of the purified Xenopus HS showed the preponderance of a disulfated disaccharide unit with uronic acid 2-O-sulfate and glucosamine 2-N-sulfate, which has been implicated in the interactions with bFGF. Specific binding of the HS to bFGF and FS-288, the COOH-terminal truncated form, was observed in the filter binding assay, whereas HS did not bind to FS-315, indicating that the acidic Glu-rich domain of FS-315 precluded the binding. The binding of the HS to bFGF or FS-288 was markedly inhibited by heparin (HP) and various HS preparations, but not by chondroitin sulfate, supporting the binding specificity of HS. The binding specificity was further investigated using FS- 288 and vine intestinal [3H]HS. Competitive inhibition assays of the HS binding to FS-288 using sizedefined HP oligosaccharides revealed that the minimum size required for significant inhibition was a dodecasaccharide, which is larger than the pentasaccharide required for bFGF binding. The binding affinity of FS to HS increased in the presence of activin, a growth/differentiation factor, which could be inactivated by direct binding to FS. These results, taken together, indicate that the structural requirement for binding of HS to bFGF and FS is different. HS may undergo dynamic changes in its structure during early Xenopus embryo-genesis in response to the temporal and spatial expression of various growth/differentiation factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7375-7381
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Mar 27 1998
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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