eCite Digital Repository

Can an ancestral condition for milk oligosaccharides be determined? Evidence from the Tasmanian echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus)


Oftedal, OT and Nicol, SC and Davies, NW and Sekeii, N and Taufik, E and Fukuda, K and Saito, T and Urashima, T, Can an ancestral condition for milk oligosaccharides be determined? Evidence from the Tasmanian echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus), Glycobiology, 24, (9) pp. 826-839. ISSN 0959-6658 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 The Author

DOI: doi:10.1093/glycob/cwu041


The monotreme pattern of egg-incubation followed by extended lactation represents the ancestral mammalian reproductive condition, suggesting that monotreme milk may include saccharides of an ancestral type. Saccharides Tasmanian echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus setosus. Oligosaccharides in pooled milk from late lactation were purified by gel filtration and high-performance liquid chromatography using a porous graphitized carbon column and characterized by 1H NMR spectroscopy; oligosaccharides in smaller samples from early and mid-lactation were separated by ultra-performance liquid chromatography and characterized by negative electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and tandem collision mass spectroscopy (MS/MS) product ion patterns. Eight saccharides were identified by 1H NMR: lactose, 2′-fucosyllactose, difucosyllactose (DFL), B-tetrasaccharide, B-pentasaccharide, lacto-N-fucopentaose III (LNFP3), 4-O-acetyl-3′-sialyllactose [Neu4,5Ac(α23)Gal(β14)Glc] and 4-O-acetyl-3′-sialyl-3-fucosyllactose [Neu4,5Ac(α23)Gal(β14)[Fuc(α13)]Glc]. Six of these (all except DFL and LNFP3) were present in early and mid-lactation per ESI-MS, although some at trace levels. Four additional oligosaccharides examined by ESI-MS and MS/MS are proposed to be 3′-sialyllactose [Neu5Ac(α23)Gal(β14)Glc], di-O-acetyl-3′-sialyllactose [Neu4,5,UAc3(α23)Gal(β14)Glc where U = 7, 8 or 9], 4-O-acetyl-3′-sialyllactose sulfate [Neu4,5Ac(α23)Gal(β14)GlcS, where position of the sulfate (S) is unknown] and an unidentified 800 Da oligosaccharide containing a 4-O-acetyl-3′-sialyllactose core. 4-O-acetyl-3′-sialyllactose was the predominant saccharide at all lactation stages. 4-O-Acetylation is known to protect sialyllactose from bacterial sialidases and may be critical to prevent microbial degradation on the mammary areolae and/or in the hatchling digestive tract so that sialyllactose can be available for enterocyte uptake. The ability to defend against microbial invasion was probably of great functional importance in the early evolution of milk saccharides.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:milk, evolution, monotreme, fucosylated oligosaccharides, O-acetyl-sialyllactose
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Evolution of developmental systems
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Nicol, SC (Associate Professor Stewart Nicol)
UTAS Author:Davies, NW (Associate Professor Noel Davies)
ID Code:90964
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Central Science Laboratory
Deposited On:2014-05-05
Last Modified:2017-10-31

Repository Staff Only: item control page