Acetylated oligosaccharides are common in nature. While they are involved in several biochemical and biological processes, the role of the acetyl groups and the complexity of their migration has largely gone unnoticed. In this work, by combination of organic synthesis, NMR spectroscopy and quantum chemical modeling, we show that acetyl group migration is a much more complex phenomenon than previously known. By use of synthetic oligomannoside model compounds, we demonstrate, for the first time, that the migration of acetyl groups in oligosaccharides and polysaccharides may not be limited to transfer within a single monosaccharide moiety, but may also involve migration over a glycosidic bond between two different saccharide units. The observed phenomenon is not only interesting from the chemical point of view, but it also raises new questions about the potential biological role of acylated carbohydrates in nature.
- O-Acetyl migration