Liver microsomal fractions catalyse the transfer of sialic acid from CMP-N-acetyl-neuraminic acid to various exogenous acceptors such as desialylated fetuin, desialylated human Tamm–Horsfall glycoprotein and desialylated bovine submaxillary-gland mucin. An increase in the rate of incorporation of sialic acid into desialylated glycoproteins was found after a lag period (7h) in regenerating liver. The increase was maximum 24h after partial hepatectomy for all acceptors tested. At later times after operation the sialyltransferase activity remained high only for desialylated fetuin. No soluble factors from liver or serum of partially hepatectomized animals influenced the activity of the sialyltransferases bound to the microsomal fraction. The sensitivity of sialyltransferases to activation by Triton X-100, added to the incubation medium, was unchanged in the microsomal preparation from animals 24h after sham operation or partial hepatectomy. The full activity of sialyltransferases towards the various desialylated acceptors showed some differences. Human Tamm–Horsfall glycoprotein was a good acceptor of sialic acid only when desialylated by mild acid hydrolysis. After this treatment, but not after enzymic hydrolysis, a decrease in molecular weight of human Tamm–Horsfall glycoprotein was observed. Further, the sialyltransferase activity as a function of incubation temperature gave different curves according to the acceptor used. The relationship between the biosynthesis of glycoproteins by regenerating liver and the sialyltransferase activity of microsomal fraction after partial hepatectomy is discussed.

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