In eukaryotic cells, unconjugated oligosaccharides that are structurally related to N-glycans (i.e. free N-glycans) are generated either from misfolded N-glycoproteins destined for the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation or from lipid-linked oligosaccharides, donor substrates for N-glycosylation of proteins. The mechanism responsible for the generation of free N-glycans is now well-understood, but the issue of whether other types of free glycans are present remains unclear. Here, we report on the accumulation of free, O-mannosylated glycans in budding yeast that were cultured in medium containing mannose as the carbon source. A structural analysis of these glycans revealed that their structures are identical to those of O-mannosyl glycans that are attached to glycoproteins. Deletion of the cyc8 gene, which encodes for a general transcription repressor, resulted in the accumulation of excessive amounts of free O-glycans, concomitant with a severe growth defect, a reduction in the level of an O-mannosylated protein, and compromised cell wall integrity. Our findings provide evidence in support of a regulated pathway for the degradation of O-glycoproteins in yeast and offer critical insights into the catabolic mechanisms that control the fate of O-glycosylated proteins.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology