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Nonenzymatic glucosylation of protein is initiated by the reversible condensation of glucose in its open chain form with the amino groups on the protein. The initial product is an aldimine (Schiff base) which cyclizes to the glycosylamine derivative. The aldimine can undergo a slow Amadori rearrangement to yield the relatively stable ketoamine adduct which is structurally analogous to fructose. 13C NMR has been used to characterize these early products of nonenzymatic glucosylation, using RNase A as a model protein. C-1 of the beta-pyranose anomer of the glycosylamine was identified at 88.8 ppm in the spectrum of RNase glucosylated approximately 1:1 with D-[1-13C]glucose. C-1 of the Amadori product was also apparent in this spectrum, resonating as a pair of intense peaks at 52.7 and 53.1 ppm. The anomeric (C-2) resonances of the Amadori adduct were seen in the spectrum of RNase glucosylated approximately 1:1 with [U-13C]glucose. This spectrum was interpreted by comparison to the spectra of reference compounds: D-fructose, fructose-glycine, N alpha-formyl-N epsilon-fructose-lysine, and glucosylated poly-L-lysine. In the protein spectrum, the most intense of the C-2 resonances was that of the beta-fructopyranose anomer at 95.8 ppm. The alpha- and beta-fructofuranose anomers were also observed at 101.7 and 99.2 ppm, respectively. One unidentified signal in the anomeric region was observed in the spectra of poly-L-lysine and RNase, both glucosylated with [U-13C]glucose; no comparable resonances were observed in the spectra of the model compounds.

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