Two different sialoproteins were isolated from the mineralized matrix of bovine bone by using extraction with guanidinium chloride first without and then with EDTA. The sialoproteins were purified by chromatography on DEAE-cellulose eluted with a sodium acetate gradient in 7 M-urea, pH 6. Two sialoproteins (I and II) were then separated by chromatography on DEAE-cellulose eluted with a sodium chloride gradient in 7 M-urea, pH 4. The ratio between recovered sialoprotein I and II was 1:5. The chemical analysis of the two sialoproteins showed that they differed. Both, however, had very high contents of aspartic acid/asparagine and glutamic acid/glutamine though they differed markedly in contents of leucine and glycine. Both sialoproteins contained phosphate, sialoprotein I more than sialoprotein II. Content of sialic acid was substantially higher in the more prominent sialoprotein II (13.4% of dry weight) than in sialoprotein I (4.8% of dry weight). The peptide patterns produced by trypsin digests of [125I]iodinated sialoproteins I and II showed both structural similarities and structural differences. Sialoprotein II, being the major component, was characterized further. Its molecular mass was 57300 Da determined by sedimentation-equilibrium centrifugation in 6 M-guanidinium chloride, and its sedimentation coefficient (S0(20),w) was 2.53 S. Upon rotary shadowing, sialoprotein II appeared as an extended rod, having a core with an average length of 40 nm. Two types of oligosaccharides, N-glycosidically and O-glycosidically linked to the core protein, were isolated from sialoprotein II. Contents of mannose and sialic acid in the O-linked oligosaccharide were surprisingly high. Antibodies against sialoprotein II were raised in rabbits and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed. Antigenicity of sialoprotein II was not affected by reduction and alkylation, was only partially lost upon trypsin digestion and was completely lost upon fragmentation of the core protein by alkaline-borohydride treatment, indicating that all antigenic sites were located in the protein portion. Sialoprotein I expectedly showed only partial immunological cross-reactivity with sialoprotein II. The quantity of sialoprotein II in bone extracts was found to be about 1.5 mg/g wet wt. of bone, but the protein was not detected in extracts of a number of other bovine tissues i.e. aorta, cartilage, dentine, kidney, liver, muscle, sclera, skin and tendon.

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