Fragments that consisted mainly of two polysaccharide chains joined by a short polypeptide bridge (doublets) were prepared from chondroitin sulphate–proteins of lamprey, sturgeon, elasmobranch and ox connective tissues after hydrolysis with trypsin and chymotrypsin. Consideration of molecular parameters, compositions and behaviour on gel electrophoresis and density-gradient fractionation leads to a proposed parent structure for chondroitin sulphate–proteins. A single polypeptide chain of about 2000 amino acid residues contains alternating short and long repeating sequences. A short sequence consists of less than 10 amino acid residues with one N-terminal and one C-terminal serine residue, each of which carries a polysaccharide chain linked glycosidically to its hydroxyl group. This structure constitutes the doublet subunit. Some variation is introduced when the doublet subunit carries only a single polysaccharide chain. The long sequence contains about 35 amino acid residues and is subject to cleavage by trypsin and chymotrypsin. The main polypeptide is probably homologous in the vertebrate sub-phylum with strong conservation of structure suggested for the short sequence. However, polymorphism of polypeptide structures cannot be excluded.

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