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Rat skin heparin proteoglycans vary markedly in the proportions of their constituent polysaccharide chains that have high binding affinity for antithrombin. As the proportion of such chains in a proteoglycan rises, their degree of affinity for antithrombin also increases [Horner (1987) Biochem. J. 244, 693-698]. The antithrombin-binding-site densities of such chains have now been determined, by measuring heparin-induced enhancement of the intrinsic fluorescence of antithrombin and by chemical analysis for the disaccharide sequence glucuronosyl-N-sulphoglucosaminyl (3,6-di-O-sulphate), which is unique to this site in heparin [Lindahl, Bäckström, Thunberg & Leder (1980) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 77, 6551-6555]. Antithrombin-binding-site density ranged from one to five sites per chain.

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The Biochemical journal

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