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Cover Picture: The Activation of Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs) by Glycosaminoglycans: Influence of the Sulfation Pattern on the Biological Activity of FGF-1 (ChemBioChem 1/2004)
The cover picture shows a comparison of the effect of increasing concentrations of heparin and two synthetic heparin-like hexasaccharides, with specifically designed different sulfation patterns, on the mitogenic activity of acidic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-1). These two hexasaccharides, members of a series of six synthetic oligosaccharides with the same monosaccharide sequence but differing size and charge distribution, either have different negative charge orientations on both sides, like heparin itself, or on one side of their three dimensional helical structures. This alternative arrangement induces differences in the electrostatic potential, as is shown in the surface maps. The hexasaccharide with sulfate groups on only one side of the helix stimulates FGF-1 more efficiently than that with the sulfate groups distributed on both sides as in the regular region of heparin. This result and the fact that, according to sedimentation-equilibrium analysis, these oligosaccharides do not promote FGF-1 dimerization, strongly suggest that FGF oligomerization is not a general and absolute requirement for biological activity. Further details can be found in the article by M. Martín-Lomas and co-workers on p. 55 ff.