The Journal of biological chemistry

Emerging paradigms for the initiation of mucin-type protein O-glycosylation by the polypeptide GalNAc transferase family of glycosyltransferases.

PMID 21349845


Mammalian mucin-type O-glycosylation is initiated by a large family of ∼20 UDP-GalNAc:polypeptide α-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferases (ppGalNAc Ts) that transfer α-GalNAc from UDP-GalNAc to Ser and Thr residues of polypeptide acceptors. Characterizing the peptide substrate specificity of each isoform is critical to understanding their properties, biological roles, and significance. Presently, only the specificities of ppGalNAc T1, T2, and T10 and the fly orthologues of T1 and T2 have been systematically characterized utilizing random peptide substrates. We now extend these studies to ppGalNAc T3, T5, and T12, transferases variously associated with human disease. Our results reveal several common features; the most striking is the similar pattern of enhancements for the three residues C-terminal to the site of glycosylation for those transferases that contain a common conserved Trp. In contrast, residues N-terminal to the site of glycosylation show a wide range of isoform-specific enhancements, with elevated preferences for Pro, Val, and Tyr being the most common at the -1 position. Further analysis reveals that the ratio of positive (Arg, Lys, and His) to negative (Asp and Glu) charged residue enhancements varied among transferases, thus further modulating substrate preference in an isoform-specific manner. By utilizing the obtained transferase-specific preferences, the glycosylation patterns of the ppGalNAc Ts against a series of peptide substrates could roughly be reproduced, demonstrating the potential for predicting isoform-specific glycosylation. We conclude that each ppGalNAc T isoform may be uniquely sensitive to peptide sequence and overall charge, which together dictates the substrate sites that will be glycosylated.

Related Materials