Biosynthesis of glycosaminoglycans in the developing retina

John E. Morris, John J. Hopwood, Albert Dorfman

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The glycosaminoglycans of neural retinas from 5-, 7-, 10-, and 14-day chick embryos were labeled in culture with [3H]glucosamine and 35SO4, extracted, and isolated by gel filtration. The incorporation of label per retina into glycosaminoglycans increased with embryonic age, but that per cell and per unit weight of uronic acid decreased. Specific enzyme methods coupled with gel filtration and paper chromatography demonstrated that [3H]glucosamine incorporation into chondroitin sulfate increased between 5 and 14 days from 7 to 34% of the total incorporation into glycosaminoglycans. During this period, incorporation into chondroitin-4-sulfate increased relative to that into chondroitin-6-sulfate. Between 5 and 10 days, incorporation into heparan sulfate showed a relative decline from 89 to 61%. Incorporation into hyaluronic acid always represented less than 2% of the total. A twofold greater increase in galactosamine concentration than in glucosamine concentration in the glycosaminoglycan fraction between 7 and 14 days supports the conclusion that chondroitin sulfate was the most rapidly accumulating glycosaminoglycan. ECTEOLA-cellulose chromatography revealed a heterogeneity in the size and/or net charge of chondroitin sulfate and heparan sulfate. We conclude that incorporation of exogenous precursors into glycosaminoglycans in the chick retina decreases relative to cell number as differentiation progresses from a period of high mitotic activity to one of tissue specialization, and that it is accompanied by a net accumulation of glycosaminoglycan and a change in the pattern of its synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-327
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 15 Jul 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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