Author(s): Paulo A S Mouro, Mariana S Pereira, Mauro S G Pavo, Barbara Mulloy, Douglas M Tollefsen
A polysaccharide isolated from the body wall of the sea cucumber Ludwigothurea grisea has a backbone like that of mammalian chondroitin sulfate: [4-β-D-GlcA-1→3-β-D-GalNAc-1]n but substituted at the 3-position of the β-D-glucuronic acid residues with sulfated α-L-fucopyranosyl branches (Vieira, R. P., Mulloy, B., and Mourão, P. A. S. (1991) J. Biol. Chem. 266, 13530-13536). Mild acid hydrolysis removes the sulfated α-L-fucose branches, and cleaved residues have been characterized by 1H NMR spectroscopy; the most abundant species is fucose 4-O-monosulfate, but 2,4- and 3,4-di-O-sulfated residues are also present. Degradation of the remaining polysaccharide with chondroitin ABC lyase shows that the sulfated α-L-fucose residues released by mild acid hydrolysis are concentrated toward the non-reducing end of the polysaccharide chains; enzyme-resistant polysaccharide material includes the reducing terminal and carries acid-resistant L-fucose substitution. The sulfated α-L-fucose branches confer anticoagulant activity on the polysaccharide. The specific activity of fucosylated chondroitin sulfate in the activated partial thromboplastin time assay is greater than that of a linear homopolymeric α-L-fucan with about the same level of sulfation; this activity is lost on defucosylation or desulfation but not on carboxyl-reduction of the polymer. Assays with purified reagents show that the fucosylated chondroitin sulfate can potentiate the thrombin inhibition activity of both antithrombin and heparin cofactor II.