The Journal of biological chemistry

Overexpression of N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase III disrupts the tyrosine phosphorylation of Trk with resultant signaling dysfunction in PC12 cells treated with nerve growth factor.

PMID 9092490


beta-1,4-N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferase III (GnT-III: EC is a pivotal glycosyltransferase which participates in branch formation by catalysis of the synthesis of a bisecting GlcNAc structure in N-glycans. These structures are thought to be one of the unique features of the N-glycans of neural tissues. To examine the intracellullar role of GnT-III expression and its product in neural cells, its gene was overexpressed in rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells which normally express a low level of GnT-III. In the GnT-III gene-transfected cells, lectin blot analysis showed that some glycoproteins showed increased levels of bisecting GlcNAc structures. Following treatment with nerve growth factor (NGF) the control cells showed neurite outgrowth for differentiation whereas the transfectants showed no morphological response or change in the rate of cell growth. Transient tyrosine phosphorylation of the Trk/NGF receptor was detected at 5-15 min after NGF treatment in control cells, but not detected in the GnT-III gene-transfected cells despite the intact binding of NGF to the cells. Moreover the dimerization of Trk with NGF treatment was not induced in the GnT-III transfectant as compared with the dimerization seen in control cells. These results indicate that overexpression of GnT-III gene in PC12 cells affects some functions of glycoprotein receptors such as Trk by alteration of N-glycan structures, and results in changes in the intracellular signaling pathway of tyrosine phosphorylation modified by NGF.