Five gangliosides, accounting for over 95% of the total ganglioside fraction, were isolated from bovine adrenal medulla by preparative thin-layer chromatography and the carbohydrate structures determined by a combination of periodate oxidation and permethylation techniques. Partially methylated alditol acetates were generated from the neutral sugars of the fully methylated glycolipids and identified by gas-liquid chromatography. Substitution on N-acetylgalactosamine was determined by methanolysis of the permethylated ganglioside, acetylation of the products, and identification of the resulting substituted methyl glycosides by GLC. Periodate oxidation followed by borohydride reduction confirmed some of the linkages and demonstrated the absence of (2-8) linkages between sialic acid units. Mass spectrometry of the permethylated gangliosides gave information on sugar sequence at the nonreducing end.
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