Author(s): Green ED, Baenziger JU
Abstract The asparagine-linked oligosaccharides on the pituitary glycoprotein hormones lutropin (LH), follitropin (FSH), and thyrotropin (TSH) consist of a heterogeneous array of neutral, sulfated, sialylated, and sulfated/sialylated structures. In the accompanying paper (Green, E.D., and Baenziger, J.U. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 25-35), we elucidated the structures of the anionic asparagine-linked oligosaccharides found on the bovine, ovine, and human pituitary glycoprotein hormones. In this study, we determined the relative quantities of the various asparagine-linked oligosaccharides on LH, FSH, and TSH from these three animal species. The proportions of sulfated versus sialylated oligosaccharides varied markedly among the different hormones. Both hormone- and animal species-specific differences in the types and distributions of sulfated, sialylated, and sulfated/sialylated structures were evident. In particular, LH and FSH, which are synthesized in the same pituitary cell and bear alpha-subunits with the identical amino acid sequence, contained significantly different distributions of sulfated and sialylated oligosaccharides. For all three animal species, the ratio of sialylated to sulfated oligosaccharides differed by greater than 10-fold for LH and FSH, with sulfated structures dominating on LH and sialylated structures on FSH. Sialylated oligosaccharides were also heterogeneous with respect to sialic acid linkage (alpha 2,3 versus alpha 2,6). In addition to differences in the proportion of sulfated and sialylated structures on LH and FSH, there were site-specific variations in the amount of mono- and disulfated oligosaccharides at different glycosylation sites on LH alpha-beta dimers. The differences in oligosaccharide structures among the various pituitary glycoprotein hormones as well as among the various glycosylation sites within a single hormone support the hypothesis that glycosylation may serve important functional roles in the expression and/or regulation of hormone bioactivity.