Egg jelly coats from Bufo arenarumare formed by components secreted along the oviduct. These secretion products overlay the oocytes as they transit along the different oviductal portions. In this study, we have isolated two highly glycosylated proteins of the jelly coat, which are secreted almost all the way along the oviduct. Both glycoproteins [designated as highly glycosylated protein (HGP) and low-molecular-mass highly glycosylated protein (L-HGP)] were purified to homogeneity, from the secretion of the caudal oviduct portion, by CsCl density gradient ultracentrifugation. HGP is a high-molecular-mass protein with mucin-like characteristics: high viscosity, a high content of serine and threonine, about 70% carbohydrate by weight, and a protease-resistant domain. Cleavage of disulphide bridges with reducing agents resulted in the release of a single subunit (300000 Da). L-HGP is also a disulphide-cross-linked protein with lower apparent monomeric molecular mass, in the range 100-120 kDa and containing 50% carbohydrate by weight. HGP contains galactose, fucose, N-acetylgalactosamine and sialic acid, but no mannose, suggesting the presence of O-linked oligosaccharides exclusively. The secretion ratio of HGP increases from cephalic (16% of total protein in pars preconvoluta) to caudal (40% of total protein in pars convoluta) oviductal portions. It appears to be the major structural component of the jelly coat. Our purification data suggest that HGP is non-covalently linked to the other egg jelly proteins. Polyclonal antiserum to each purified glycoprotein from secretion was raised in rabbits and used to localize both glycoproteins in the different oviductal portions, total egg jelly and the aqueous medium where oocyte strings were incubated. HGP forms a stable fibre matrix around the oocyte. L-HGP is present in the jelly coat and is released into the incubation medium.
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