“the complex carbohydrates formed by combining carbohydrates with noncarbohydrates or carbohydrate derivatives; examples include pectin, lignin, glycoproteins, glycolipids, and mucopolysaccharides.”
Heteropolysaccarides contain two or more different kind of monosaccharides. Usually they provide extracellular support for organisms of all kingdoms: the bacteria cell envelope, or the matrix that holds individual cells together in animal tissues, and provides protection, shape and support to cells, tissues and organs.
Heteropolysaccharides provide extracellular support to very different organisms, from bacteria to humans; together with fibrous proteins, like collagen, elastin, fibronectin, laminin and others, heteropolysaccharides are the most important components of the extracellular matrix. Hyaluronic acid, condroitin sulfates and dermatan sulfates are important heteropolysaccharides in the extracellular matrix. These heteropolysaccharides usually are formed by the repetition of a disaccharide unit of an aminosugar and an acid sugar.
A typical example
Other common constituents are sulfate groups linked to certain monosaccharides. Usually heteropolysaccharides are associated with proteins forming proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans or mucopolysaccharides (since they are abundant in mucous secretions). As a group, they perform diverse functions: structural, water metabolism regulation (as a reservoir of water), cellular cement, biological sieve, biological lubricant, docking sites for growth factors, among other functions.
Established specific functions of some glycosaminoglycans are:
Hyaluronic Acid (Hyaluronate): It is a lubricant in the synovial fluid of joints, give consistency to vitreous humor, contributes to tensile strength and elasticity of cartilages and tendons (Answer to C-O6)
Chondroitin Sulfates: contributes to tensile strength and elasticity of cartilages, tendons, ligaments...
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