Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices
- Once considered unusual, nucleocytoplasmic glycosylation is now recognized as a conserved feature of eukaryotes. While in animals, O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) modifies thousands of intracellular proteins, the human pathogen Toxoplasma gondii transfers a different sugar, fucose, to proteins involved in transcription, mRNA processing, and signaling. Knockout experiments showed that TgSPY, an ortholog of plant SPINDLY and paralog of host OGT, is required for nuclear O-fucosylation. Here we verify that TgSPY is the nucleocytoplasmic O-fucosyltransferase (OFT) by 1) complementation with TgSPY-MYC3, 2) its functional dependence on amino acids critical for OGT activity, and 3) its ability to O-fucosylate itself and a model substrate and to specifically hydrolyze GDP-Fuc.
- Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that causes disseminated infections that can produce neurological damage in fetuses and immunocompromised individuals. Microneme protein 2 (MIC2), a member of the thrombospondin-related anonymous protein (TRAP) family, is a secreted protein important for T. gondii motility, host cell attachment, invasion, and egress. MIC2 contains six thrombospondin type I repeats (TSRs) that are modified by C-mannose and O-fucose in Plasmodium spp. and mammals. Here, using MS analysis, we found that the four TSRs in T.
- Infection with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is a major health risk owing to birth defects, its chronic nature, ability to reactivate to cause blindness and encephalitis, and high prevalence in human populations. Unlike most eukaryotes, Toxoplasma propagates in intracellular parasitophorous vacuoles, but like nearly all other eukaryotes, Toxoplasma glycosylates many cellular proteins and lipids and assembles polysaccharides. Toxoplasma glycans resemble those of other eukaryotes, but species-specific variations have prohibited deeper investigations into their roles in parasite biology and virulence.
- To survive in its sand fly vector, the trypanosomatid protozoan parasite Leishmania first attaches to the midgut to avoid excretion, but eventually it must detach for transmission by the next bite. In Leishmania major strain Friedlin, this is controlled by modifications of the stage-specific adhesin lipophosphoglycan (LPG). During differentiation to infective metacyclics, d-arabinopyranose (d-Arap) caps the LPG side-chain galactose residues, blocking interaction with the midgut lectin PpGalec, thereby leading to parasite detachment and transmission.