• Evidence that heparin saccharides promote FGF2 mitogenesis through two distinct mechanisms.

      Goodger, Sarah J; Robinson, Christopher J; Murphy, Kevin J; Gasiunas, Nijole; Harmer, Nicholas J; Blundell, Tom L; Pye, David A; Gallagher, John T; Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, University of Manchester, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. (2008-05-09)
      Heparin-like saccharides play an essential role in binding to both fibroblast growth factors (FGF) and their receptors at the cell surface. In this study we prepared a series of heparin oligosaccharides according to their size and sulfation level. We then investigated their affinity for FGF2 and their ability to support FGF2 mitogenesis of heparan sulfate-deficient cells expressing FGFR1c. Tetra- and hexasaccharides bound FGF2, but failed to dimerize the growth factor. Nevertheless, these saccharides promoted FGF2-mediated cell growth. Furthermore, whereas enzymatic removal of the non-reducing end 2-O-sulfate group had little effect on the 1:1 interaction with FGF2, it eliminated the mitogenic activity of these saccharides. This evidence supports the symmetric two-end model of ternary complex formation. In contrast, even at very low concentrations, octasaccharide and larger heparin fragments conferred a potent mitogenic activity that was independent of terminal 2-O-sulfation. This correlated with the ability to dimerize FGF2 in an apparently cooperative manner. This data suggests that potent mitogenic signaling results from heparin-mediated trans-dimerization of FGF2, consistent with the asymmetric model of ternary complex formation. We propose that, depending on saccharide structure, there are different architectures and modes of ternary complex assembly that differ in stability and/or efficiency of transmembrane signaling.
    • A new model for the domain structure of heparan sulfate based on the novel specificity of K5 lyase.

      Murphy, Kevin J; Merry, Catherine L R; Lyon, Malcolm; Thompson, James E; Roberts, Ian S; Gallagher, John T; Cancer Research UK and University of Manchester, Department of Medical Oncology, Christie Hospital NHS Trust, Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 4BX, United Kingdom. (2004-06-25)
      Elucidation of the molecular structure of heparan sulfate (HS) is the key to understanding its functional versatility as a co-receptor for growth factors and morphogens. We have identified and exploited the novel substrate specificity of the coliphage K5 lyase in studies of the domain organization of HS. We show that K5 lyase cleaves HS principally within non-sulfated sequences of four or more N-acetylated disaccharides. Uniquely, sections comprising alternating N-acetylated and N-sulfated units are resistant to the enzyme, as are the highly sulfated S domains. Spacing of the K5 lyase cleavage sites ( approximately 7-8 kDa) is similar to that of the S domains. On the basis of these findings, we propose a refined model of the structure of HS in which N-acetylated sequences of four to five disaccharide units (GlcNAc-GlcUA)(4-5) are positioned centrally between the S domains. The latter are embedded within N-acetylated and N-sulfated sequences, forming extended regions of hypervariable sulfation distributed at regular intervals along the polymer chain. K5 lyase provides a means of excision of these composite sulfated regions for structural and functional analyses.