The activation of fibroblast growth factors by heparin: synthesis, structure, and biological activity of heparin-like oligosaccharides

José-Luis de Paz, Jesus Angulo, José‐María Lassaletta, Pedro M. Nieto, Mariano Redondo-Horcajo, Rosa M. Lozano, Guillermo Giménez-Gallego, Manuel Martín-Lomas

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An effective strategy has been designed for the synthesis of oligosaccharides of different sizes structurally related to the regular region of heparin; this is illustrated by the preparation of hexasaccharide 1 and octasaccharide 2. This synthetic strategy provides the oligosaccharide sequence containing a D-glucosamine unit at the nonreducing end that is not available either by enzymatic or chemical degradation of heparin. It may permit, after slight modifications, the preparation of oligosaccharide fragments with different charge distribution as well. NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations have shown that the overall structure of 1 in solution is a stable right-hand helix with four residues per turn. Hexasaccharide 1 and, most likely, octasaccharide 2 are, therefore, chemically well-defined structural models of naturally occurring heparin-like oligosaccharides for use in binding and biological activity studies. Both compounds 1 and 2 induce the mitogenic activity of acid fibroblast growth factor (FGF1), with the half-maximum activating concentration of 2 being equivalent to that of heparin. Sedimentation equilibrium analysis with compound 2 suggests that heparin-induced FGF1 dimerization is not an absolute requirement for biological activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-685
Number of pages13
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2001


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Anticoagulants
  • Models, Molecular
  • Biotransformation
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Mitogens
  • Iduronic Acid
  • Heparin
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

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