• glycosidase;
  • mass spectrometry;
  • matrix metalloproteinase;
  • N-glycosylation

Matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) is a collagenolytic metalloproteinase capable of cleaving native triple-helical forms of several collagen subtypes, as well as a number of non-collagenous substrates. The role of MMP-1 in various diseases affecting the connective tissue is well characterized. MMP-1 is secreted as both glycosylated and unglycosylated species, and the two forms have been shown to be identical with respect to substrate specificity, specific activity and inhibitory profile. No function for the glycan moiety of the enzyme has been ascribed to date. In the present study, we report on the detailed characterization of MMP-1-derived oligosaccharides. Using strategies based on sequential exoglycosidase digestion combined with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight MS and electrospray tandem MS, we have characterized the N-glycan structures of MMP-1, derived from human dermal fibroblasts and from the HT-1080 fibrosarcoma cell line. MMP-1 derived from fibroblasts was found to carry mainly α2,3-sialylated complex-type diantennary glycans. On the other hand, HT-1080 cells produce MMP-1 that has a heterogeneous glycosylation pattern, comprising diantennary glycans carrying Lewis X, LacdiNAc, sialylated LacdiNAc and GalNAcβ1,4(Fucα1,3)GlcNAc (LacdiNAc analogue of Lewis X) as terminal elements. We also show that, of the two potential glycosylation sites in the MMP-1 sequence, only Asn120 is used.