The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 47: 311 - 314 (2003)

Vol 47, Issue 4

Glycosaminoglycans in early chick embryo

Published: 30 November -0001

Spyros S Skandalis, Achilleas D Theocharis, Nikoletta Papageorgakopoulou and Nikolas Zagris

Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Natural Products Division, Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Greece.


The developmental profile of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) were examined by cellulose acetate electrophoresis and high performance liquid chromatography in the early chick embryo from late blastula (stage XIII+) to early somite developmental stages (stage HH7-9). Sulphated GAGs were present from the earliest stages. They were more abundant than the non-sulphated forms and showed stage-related changes. Chondroitin sulphate and especially dermatan sulphate appeared to be the predominant GAGs in embryos at stage XIII+. Dermatan sulphate was about three times as abundant as chondroitin sulphate at stage XII+. In contrast, embryos at the definitive streak stage (stage HH4) produced about twice as much chondroitin sulphate as dermatan sulphate. At the head process stage (stage HH5), the level of chondroitin sulphate was reduced and its relative content in the embryo was about the same as dermatan sulphate. Levels of dermatan sulphate were more than five times those of heparan sulphate from stage XIII through to stage HH5 and three times more at stage HH7-9. The 4- and 6- sulphation of chondroitin sulphate increased 14- and 10-fold respectively, from stage XIII+ to stage HH 7-9. The sulphation pattern of chondroitin sulphate had a delta(di)-4S:delta(di)-6S molar ratio ranging from 4 to 8:1 and a delta(di)-4S:delta(di)-OS molar ratio ranging from 9 to 16:1 and was developmentally regulated. Thus, chondroitin sulphate in the early chick embryo was sulphated predominately in the 4-position in all stages studied. The presence of both 4- and 6-sulphated disaccharides in chondroitin sulphate indicated that both 4 and 6 sulfotransferases were active in the early embryo. Hyaluronate and sulphated GAG content increased markedly at gastrulation when the first major cellular migrations and tissue interactions begin.

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.