Two homologues encoding human UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase differ in mRNA expression and enzymatic activity.

PMID 10694380


UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase (UGT) is a soluble protein of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that operates as a gatekeeper for quality control by preventing transport of improperly folded glycoproteins out of the ER. We report the isolation of two cDNAs encoding human UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase homologues. HUGT1 encodes a 1555 amino acid polypeptide that, upon cleavage of an N-terminal signal peptide, is predicted to produce a soluble 173 kDa protein with the ER retrieval signal REEL. HUGT2 encodes a 1516 amino acid polypeptide that also contains a signal peptide and the ER retrieval signal HDEL. HUGT1 shares 55% identity with HUGT2 and 31-45% identity with Drosophila, Caenorhabditis elegans, and Schizosaccharomyces pombe homologues, with most extensive conservation of residues in the carboxy-terminal fifth of the protein, the proposed catalytic domain. HUGT1 is expressed as multiple mRNA species that are induced to similar extents upon disruption of protein folding in the ER. In contrast, HUGT2 is transcribed as a single mRNA species that is not induced under similar conditions. HUGT1 and HUGT2 mRNAs are broadly expressed in multiple tissues and differ slightly in their tissue distribution. The HUGT1 and HUGT2 cDNAs were expressed by transient transfection in COS-1 monkey cells to obtain similar levels of protein localized to the ER. Extracts from HUGT1-transfected cells displayed a 27-fold increase in the transfer of [(14)C]glucose from UDP-[(14)C]glucose to denatured substrates. Despite its high degree of sequence identity with HUGT1, the expressed recombinant HUGT2 protein was not functional under the conditions optimized for HUGT1. Site-directed alanine mutagenesis within a highly conserved region of HUGT1 identified four residues that are essential for catalytic function.