Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices
- Mammalian Asn-linked glycans are extensively processed as they transit the secretory pathway to generate diverse glycans on cell surface and secreted glycoproteins. Additional modification of the glycan core by α-1,6-fucose addition to the innermost GlcNAc residue (core fucosylation) is catalyzed by an α-1,6-fucosyltransferase (FUT8). The importance of core fucosylation can be seen in the complex pathological phenotypes of FUT8 null mice, which display defects in cellular signaling, development, and subsequent neonatal lethality.
- Deficiency in subunits of the conserved oligomeric Golgi (COG) complex results in pleiotropic defects in glycosylation and causes congenital disorders in humans. Insight regarding the functional consequences of this defective glycosylation and the identity of specific glycoproteins affected is lacking. A chemical glycobiology strategy was adopted to identify the surface glycoproteins most sensitive to altered glycosylation in COG-deficient Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Following metabolic labeling, an unexpected increase in GalNAz incorporation into several glycoproteins, including α-dystroglycan (α-DG), was noted in cog1-deficient ldlB cells.
- Disruption of the O-mannosylation pathway involved in functional glycosylation of α-dystroglycan gives rise to congenital muscular dystrophies. Protein O-linked mannose β-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase 2 (POMGNT2) catalyzes the first step toward the functional matriglycan structure on α-dystroglycan that is responsible for binding extracellular matrix proteins and certain arenaviruses. Alternatively, protein O-linked mannose β-1,2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase 1 (POMGNT1) catalyzes the first step toward other various glycan structures present on α-dystroglycan of unknown function.
- Selective exo-enzymatic labeling (or SEEL) uses recombinant glycosyltransferases and nucleotide-sugar analogues to allow efficient labeling of cell surface glycans. SEEL can circumvent many of the possible issues associated with metabolic labeling, including low incorporation of sugar precursors, and allows for sugars to be added selectively to different types of glycans by virtue of the inherent specificity of the glycosyltransferases. Here we compare the labeling of sialoglycoproteins in undifferentiated and differentiated human erythroleukemia cells (HEL) using SEEL using the sialyltransferases ST6Gal1 and ST3Gal1, which label N- and O-glycans, respectively.