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      3D Structure and Function of Glycosyltransferases Involved in N-glycan Maturation


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          Glycosylation is the most ubiquitous post-translational modification in eukaryotes. N-glycan is attached to nascent glycoproteins and is processed and matured by various glycosidases and glycosyltransferases during protein transport. Genetic and biochemical studies have demonstrated that alternations of the N-glycan structure play crucial roles in various physiological and pathological events including progression of cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, the formation of N-glycan branches regulates the functions of target glycoprotein, which are catalyzed by specific N-acetylglucosaminyltransferases (GnTs) such as GnT-III, GnT-IVs, GnT-V, and GnT-IX, and a fucosyltransferase, FUT8s. Although the 3D structures of all enzymes have not been solved to date, recent progress in structural analysis of these glycosyltransferases has provided insights into substrate recognition and catalytic reaction mechanisms. In this review, we discuss the biological significance and structure-function relationships of these enzymes.

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          Complex N-glycan number and degree of branching cooperate to regulate cell proliferation and differentiation.

          The number of N-glycans (n) is a distinct feature of each glycoprotein sequence and cooperates with the physical properties of the Golgi N-glycan-branching pathway to regulate surface glycoprotein levels. The Golgi pathway is ultrasensitive to hexosamine flux for the production of tri- and tetra-antennary N-glycans, which bind to galectins and form a molecular lattice that opposes glycoprotein endocytosis. Glycoproteins with few N-glycans (e.g., TbetaR, CTLA-4, and GLUT4) exhibit enhanced cell-surface expression with switch-like responses to increasing hexosamine concentration, whereas glycoproteins with high numbers of N-glycans (e.g., EGFR, IGFR, FGFR, and PDGFR) exhibit hyperbolic responses. Computational and experimental data reveal that these features allow nutrient flux stimulated by growth-promoting high-n receptors to drive arrest/differentiation programs by increasing surface levels of low-n glycoproteins. We have identified a mechanism for metabolic regulation of cellular transition between growth and arrest in mammals arising from apparent coevolution of N-glycan number and branching.
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            Glycosylation-dependent lectin-receptor interactions preserve angiogenesis in anti-VEGF refractory tumors.

            The clinical benefit conferred by vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF)-targeted therapies is variable, and tumors from treated patients eventually reinitiate growth. Here, we identify a glycosylation-dependent pathway that compensates for the absence of cognate ligand and preserves angiogenesis in response to VEGF blockade. Remodeling of the endothelial cell (EC) surface glycome selectively regulated binding of galectin-1 (Gal1), which upon recognition of complex N-glycans on VEGFR2, activated VEGF-like signaling. Vessels within anti-VEGF-sensitive tumors exhibited high levels of α2-6-linked sialic acid, which prevented Gal1 binding. In contrast, anti-VEGF refractory tumors secreted increased Gal1 and their associated vasculature displayed glycosylation patterns that facilitated Gal1-EC interactions. Interruption of β1-6GlcNAc branching in ECs or silencing of tumor-derived Gal1 converted refractory into anti-VEGF-sensitive tumors, whereas elimination of α2-6-linked sialic acid conferred resistance to anti-VEGF. Disruption of the Gal1-N-glycan axis promoted vascular remodeling, immune cell influx and tumor growth inhibition. Thus, targeting glycosylation-dependent lectin-receptor interactions may increase the efficacy of anti-VEGF treatment. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Negative regulation of T-cell activation and autoimmunity by Mgat5 N-glycosylation.

              T-cell activation requires clustering of a threshold number of T-cell receptors (TCRs) at the site of antigen presentation, a number that is reduced by CD28 co-receptor recruitment of signalling proteins to TCRs. Here we demonstrate that a deficiency in beta1,6 N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (Mgat5), an enzyme in the N-glycosylation pathway, lowers T-cell activation thresholds by directly enhancing TCR clustering. Mgat5-deficient mice showed kidney autoimmune disease, enhanced delayed-type hypersensitivity, and increased susceptibility to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Recruitment of TCRs to agonist-coated beads, TCR signalling, actin microfilament re-organization, and agonist-induced proliferation were all enhanced in Mgat5-/- T cells. Mgat5 initiates GlcNAc beta1,6 branching on N-glycans, thereby increasing N-acetyllactosamine, the ligand for galectins, which are proteins known to modulate T-cell proliferation and apoptosis. Indeed, galectin-3 was associated with the TCR complex at the cell surface, an interaction dependent on Mgat5. Pre-treatment of wild-type T cells with lactose to compete for galectin binding produced a phenocopy of Mgat5-/- TCR clustering. These data indicate that a galectin-glycoprotein lattice strengthened by Mgat5-modified glycans restricts TCR recruitment to the site of antigen presentation. Dysregulation of Mgat5 in humans may increase susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

                Author and article information

                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                09 January 2020
                January 2020
                : 21
                : 2
                : 437
                [1 ]Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
                [2 ]Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Miyagi 981-8558, Japan; yyoshiki@ 123456tohoku-mpu.ac.jp
                [3 ]Department of Glyco-Oncology and Medical Biochemistry, Osaka International Cancer Institute, 3-1-69 Otemae, Chuo-ku, Osaka 541-8567, Japan; tani52@ 123456wd5.so-net.ne.jp
                [4 ]Center for Highly Advanced Integration of Nano and Life Sciences (G-CHAIN), Gifu University, 1-1 Yanagido, Gifu 501-1193, Japan
                Author notes
                Author information
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 17 December 2019
                : 08 January 2020

                Molecular biology
                n-glycosylation,glycosyltransferase,atomic structure,gt-a fold,gt-b fold
                Molecular biology
                n-glycosylation, glycosyltransferase, atomic structure, gt-a fold, gt-b fold


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