Alkaline hydrolysis followed by deamination with nitrous acid was applied for the first time to a glycoprotein, human plasma α1-acid glycoprotein (orosomucoid). This procedure, which specifically cleaves the glycosaminidic bonds, yielded well-defined oligosaccharides. The trisaccharides, which were obtained from the native protein, consisted of a sialic acid derivative, galactose and 2,5-anhydromannose. The linkage between galactose and 2,5-anhydromannose is most probably a (1→4)-glycosidic bond. A hitherto unknown linkage between N-acetylneuraminic acid and galactose was also established, namely a (2→2)-linkage. The three linkages between sialic acid and galactose described in this paper appear to be about equally resistant to mild acid hydrolysis. The disaccharide that was derived from the desialized glycoprotein consisted of galactose and 2,5-anhydromannose. Evidence was obtained for the presence of a new terminal sialyl→N-acetylglucosamine disaccharide accounting for approximately 1mol/mol of protein. The presence of this disaccharide may explain the relatively severe requirements for the complete acid hydrolysis of the sialyl residues. The present study indicates that alkaline hydrolysis followed by nitrous acid deamination in conjunction with gas–liquid chromatography will afford relatively rapid determination of the partial structure of the complex carbohydrate moiety of glycoproteins.

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