A beta-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase that preferentially transferred N-acetylgalactosamine to Sd(a-) Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein was found in guinea-pig kidney microsomal preparations. This enzyme was kidney-specific and was able to transfer the sugar to other glycoproteins, such as fetuin and alpha 1-acidic glycoprotein. The presence of sialic acid in the acceptors was essential for the transferase activity when either glycoproteins or their Pronase glycopeptides were used as acceptors. Two glycopeptides (Tamm-Horsfall glycopeptides I and II) with a different carbohydrate composition were separated by DEAE-Sephacel chromatography from Pronase-digested Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein. The amount of N-acetylgalactosamine transferred to glycopeptides by the enzyme correlated with their degree of sialylation. Enzymic digestion of N-[14C]acetylgalactosamine-labelled Tamm-Horsfall glycopeptide II showed that the transferred sugar was susceptible to beta-N-hexosaminidase. The amount of sugar cleaved by beta-hexosaminidase was strongly increased when the labelled Tamm-Horsfall glycopeptide II was pretreated with mild acid hydrolysis, a procedure that removed the sialic acid residues. Alkaline borohydride treatment of the labelled Tamm-Horsfall glycopeptide II did not release radioactivity, thus indicating that enzymic glycosylation took place at the N-asparagine-linked oligosaccharide units of Tamm-Horsfall glycoprotein.

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