We have studied the elongation of oligosaccharides containing N-acetyl-lactosamine repeats using glycosylated human lysozyme mutants as a model. We reported previously that a combination of glycosylation sites at the 49th (site IV) and 68th (site II) amino acid residues of the protein particularly stimulates the synthesis of N-acetyl-lactosamine repeats [Melcher, Grosch, Grosse and Hasilik (1998) Glycoconjugate J. 15, 987-993]. In the present study we show that it is the carbohydrate attached to site IV that is selectively affected. It contains more N-acetyl-lactosamine repeats when site II is glycosylated in the same molecule. As a corollary of the glycosylation at site II, the synthesis of a third antenna at site IV is increased. The triantennary oligosaccharides at site IV contain more N-acetyl-lactosamine repeats than the biantennary ones. Thus placing a carbohydrate at site II stimulates the branching and the elongation of the carbohydrate at the other site.

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