Glycoproteins are decorated with complex glycans for protein functions. However, regulation mechanisms of complex glycan biosynthesis are largely unclear. Here we found that bisecting GlcNAc, a branching sugar residue in N-glycan, suppresses the biosynthesis of various types of terminal epitopes in N-glycans, including fucose, sialic acid and human natural killer-1. Expression of these epitopes in N-glycan was elevated in mice lacking the biosynthetic enzyme of bisecting GlcNAc, GnT-III, and was conversely suppressed by GnT-III overexpression in cells. Many glycosyltransferases for N-glycan terminals were revealed to prefer a nonbisected N-glycan as a substrate to its bisected counterpart, whereas no up-regulation of their mRNAs was found. This indicates that the elevated expression of the terminal N-glycan epitopes in GnT-III-deficient mice is attributed to the substrate specificity of the biosynthetic enzymes. Molecular dynamics simulations further confirmed that nonbisected glycans were preferentially accepted by those glycosyltransferases. These findings unveil a new regulation mechanism of protein N-glycosylation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Molecular Biology