Porcine submaxillary mucin (PSM) is a glycoprotein composed of a protein core and frequent, short oligosaccharide side chains. We report static and dynamic light scattering experiments and intrinsic viscosities for PSM in aqueous solvent systems. In 0.1M NaCl solution, the data suggest PSM exists as large, internally branched, highly hydrated, polydisperse aggregates that slowly dissociate to give a stable species of weight‐average molecular weight (Mw) 7.4 × 106. In 6M GdnHCl solution, the noncovalent bonds between PSM molecules are broken, giving a highly elongated molecule of Mw = 2.0 × 106. The irreversible nature of this dissociation suggests that the forces that stabilize the native aggregates of PSM in 0.1M NaCl are specific in nature. On reduction of PSM with mercaptoethanol, the polydispersity decreases and Mw also decreases to 9 × 105. A discrete change is observed in the solution properties of PSM in 0.1M NaCl at a concentration of 2mg/mL, manifested by a sudden decrease in the translational diffusion coefficient, an increase in viscosity number, and a decrease in slope of the osmotic compressibility. We tentatively propose that a weak and reversible secondary association process occurs at this concentration, although a purely hydrodynamic interaction cannot be ruled out.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry