Nine of the twelve known variants of human transferrin have been resolved by the action of neuraminidase into stepwise patterns of four additional slower moving components whose relative intensities depended upon the concentration of enzyme. These components appeared to represent the stepwise removal of the four sialic acid residues from the transferrin molecule, and at large enzyme concentrations, almost all of the transferrin was reduced to the position of the slowest moving component. In contrast, the electrophoretic mobilities of haptoglobin, ceruloplasmin, and α2-macroglobulin showed a gradual decrease with increasing neuraminidase concentration.

The transferrins of chimpanzees, rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys, and cattle were resolved by neuraminidase into two slower moving components. These experiments suggested that the primate and cattle transferrins contained only two sialic acid residues accessible to the enzyme.

Transferrins C, B2, and D1 and a cynomolgus monkey transferrin were purified from serum by starch block electrophoresis and cellulose chromatography. Ultracentrifugal analysis could detect no difference in sedimentation rate between transferrin C, the primate transferrin, and neuraminidase-treated transferrin C. The human transferrins showed no variation in amino acid composition, but the cynomolgus transferrin was approximately 20 per cent higher in serine content and 50 per cent lower in glucosamine than human transferrin C. Reactions of antigenic identity were obtained among five human transferrin variants but a reaction of only partial identity was obtained between transferrin C and the cynomolgus transferrin.

The transferrin pattern of cord blood showed a prominent band in the position of transferrin C, accompanied by four faint slower moving bands which coincided with the four transferrin components produced by the action of neuraminidase on transferrin C.

The transferrin pattern of cerebrospinal fluid in individuals homozygous for serum transferrin C showed two principal components, one of which appeared to contain no sialic acid. Haptoglobin, ceruloplasmin, and α2-macroglobulin were also present in cerebrospinal fluid.

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