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Expression of two different sulfated fucans by females of Lytechinus variegatus may regulate the seasonal variation in the fertilization of the sea urchin.

Cinelli, Leonardo P; Castro, Michelle O; Santos, Livia L; Garcia, Clarice R; Vilela-Silva, Ana-Cristina E S; Mourão, Paulo A S.
Glycobiology; 17(8): 877-85, 2007 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17550940
The egg jellies of sea urchins contain sulfated polysaccharides with unusual structures, composed of linear chains of l-fucose or l-galactose with well-defined repetitive units. The specific pattern of sulfation and the position of the glycosidic bond vary among sulfated polysaccharides from different species. These polysaccharides show species specificity in inducing the acrosome reaction, which is a critical event for fertilization. Females of the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus spawn eggs containing a sulfated fucan with the repetitive sequence [3-alpha-L-Fucp-2(OSO(3))-1 --> 3-alpha-L-Fucp-4(OSO(3))-1 --> 3-alpha-L-Fucp-2,4(OSO(3))-1 --> 3-alpha-L-Fucp-2(OSO(3))-1](n). We now observe that, close to winter, a period of decreased fertility for the sea urchin, the females synthesize a distinct sulfated fucan with a simple structure, composed of 4-sulfated, 3-linked alpha-fucose residues. This sulfated fucan is inactive when tested in vitro for the acrosome reaction using homologous sperm. The amount of egg jellies spawned by females (and their constituent sulfated polysaccharides) varied greatly throughout the year. Apparently, there is a correlation between the temperature of the sea water and the expression of the 4-sulfated, 3-linked sulfated fucan. Overall, we described the occurrence of two isotypes of sulfated fucan in the egg jelly of the sea urchin L. variegatus, which differ in their biological activity and may be involved in the periodicity of the reproductive cycle of the invertebrate.
Selo DaSilva