The proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans synthesized by embryonic mouse salivary glands during normal morphogenesis and in the presence of beta-xyloside, an inhibitor of branching morphogenesis, have been partially characterized. Control and rho-nitrophenyl-beta-D-xyloside-treated salivary rudiments synthesize proteoglycans that are qualitatively similar, based on mobility on Sepharose CL-4B under dissociative conditions and glycosaminoglycan composition. However, beta-xyloside inhibits total proteoglycan-associated glycosaminoglycan synthesis by 50%, and also stimulates synthesis of large amounts of free chondroitin (dermatan) sulfate. This free glycosaminoglycan accounts for the threefold stimulation of total glycosaminoglycan synthesis in beta-xyloside-treated cultures. Several observations suggest that the disruption of proteoglycan synthesis rather than the presence of large amounts of free glycosaminoglycan is responsible for the inhibition of branching morphogenesis. (a) We have been unable to inhibit branching activity by adding large amounts of chondroitin (dermatan) sulfate, extracted from beta-xyloside-treated cultures, to the medium of salivary rudiments undergoing morphogenesis. (b) In the range of 0.1-0.4 mM beta-xyloside, the dose-dependent inhibition of branching morphogenesis is directly correlated with the inhibition of proteoglycan synthesis. The stimulation of free glycosaminoglycan synthesis is independent of dose in this range, since stimulation is maximal even at the lowest concentration used, 0.1 mM. The data strongly suggest that the inhibition of branching morphogenesis is caused by the disruption of proteoglycan synthesis in beta-xyloside-treated salivary glands.

This content is only available as a PDF.