The macromolecular structure of human cervical-mucus glycoproteins. Studies on fragments obtained after reduction of disulphide bridges and after subsequent trypsin digestion
Carlstedt, I.; Lindgren, H.; Sheehan, J.K.
Biochemical Journal 213(2): 427-435
ISSN/ISBN: 0264-6021 PMID: 6615445 DOI: 10.1042/bj2130427
Human cervical-mucus glycoproteins (mucins) were extracted with 6 M-guanidinium chloride in the presence of proteinase inhibitors and purified by isopycnic density-gradient centrifugation. The whole mucins (Mr approx. 10 X 10(6] were degraded into 'subunits' (Mr approx. 2 X 10(6] by reduction of disulphide bonds. Trypsin digestion of the 'subunits' produced glycopeptides with Mr approx. 380000, which appear to be rod-like with a length of approx. 105 nm. The relationship between the radius of gyration and the Mr value obtained by light-scattering for whole mucins, 'subunits' and 'domains' suggest that cervical-mucus glycoproteins are linear flexible macromolecules composed of, on the average, four or five 'domains'/subunit and four subunits/whole mucin macromolecule. The shape-dependent particle scattering function for the whole mucins and the 'subunits' are in accordance with that of a linear flexible chain. No evidence for a branched or a star-like structure was found. A tentative model for cervical mucins is proposed.