Sequencing Complex Polysaccharides

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Science  15 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5439, pp. 537-542
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5439.537

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Although rapid sequencing of polynucleotides and polypeptides has become commonplace, it has not been possible to rapidly sequence femto- to picomole amounts of tissue-derived complex polysaccharides. Heparin-like glycosaminoglycans (HLGAGs) were readily sequenced by a combination of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry and a notation system for representation of polysaccharide sequences. This will enable identification of sequences that are critical to HLGAG biological activities in anticoagulation, cell growth, and differentiation.

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