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Bovine κ-casein glycomacropeptide (GMP) is a sialic acid containing glycopeptide having many biological activities. The study described in this research communication was undertaken to determine whether sialic acid rich glycopeptide can be produced from GMP by proteinase treatment. A sample of GMP was hydrolyzed with papain, and the obtained hydrolysate was chromatographed on a column of diethylaminoethyl-Sephacel to obtain a glycopeptide fraction (GPF). This product accounted for average 48.1% dry weight of GMP or 81.1% total recovered sialic acid from GMP. The content of sialic acid (expressed as % dry weight) was 1.7 times higher in GPF (22.6) than in unhydrolyzed GMP (13.4). Major differences in amino acid composition between GPF and GMP were found in the contents (mol%) of: lysine (<1 and 4.5, respectively), serine (20.3 and 10.3, approximately twice higher in GPF), asparagine/aspartic acid and isoleucine. The contents of the last two amino acids were approximately twice lower in GPF. On gel filtration chromatography with Sephacryl S-100, GMP was eluted as a single peak with elution volume similar to that of dimeric β-lactoglobulin (36.6 kDa) whereas GPF was eluted in two peaks both with elution volumes greater than that of α-lactalbumin (14.2 kDa). These peak fractions containing high (fraction I) and low (fraction II) molecular size glycopeptides gave different sialic acid to peptide ratio, which was 1.7 times higher in fraction I than in fraction II. Results of size exclusion HPLC on Superdex-75 were consistent with those of gel filtlation chromatography. On cellulose acetate electrophoresis, the mobility of GPF relative to that of GMP as 1.0 was found to average 1.2, suggesting a higher negative charge density in GPF than in GMP. It was concluded that papain digestion of GMP is an efficient method to produce glycopeptide with high sialic acid content.


Takuo Nakano, Mirko Betti. Production of sialic acid rich glycopeptide from bovine κ-casein glycomacropeptide by hydrolyzing with papain. The Journal of dairy research. 2020 Aug;87(3):364-367

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PMID: 32883391

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