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Engineering mammalian mucin-type O-glycosylation in plants

Reputable Mentor II
Reputable Mentor II
Yang Z, Drew DP, Jørgensen B, Mandel U, Bach SS, Ulvskov P, Levery SB, Bennett EP, Clausen H, Petersen BL.
J Biol Chem. 2012 Apr 6;287(15):11911-23.
Mucin-type O-glycosylation is an important post-translational modification that confers a variety of biological properties and functions to proteins. This post-translational modification has a particularly complex and differentially regulated biosynthesis rendering prediction and control of where O-glycans are attached to proteins, and which structures are formed, difficult. Because plants are devoid of GalNAc-type O-glycosylation, we have assessed requirements for establishing human GalNAc O-glycosylation de novo in plants with the aim of developing cell systems with custom-designed O-glycosylation capacity. Transient expression of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa Glc(NAc) C4-epimerase and a human polypeptide GalNAc-transferase in leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana resulted in GalNAc O-glycosylation of co-expressed human O-glycoprotein substrates. A chimeric YFP construct containing a 3.5 tandem repeat sequence of MUC1 was glycosylated with up to three and five GalNAc residues when co-expressed with GalNAc-T2 and a combination of GalNAc-T2 and GalNAc-T4, respectively, as determined by mass spectrometry. O-Glycosylation was furthermore demonstrated on a tandem repeat of MUC16 and interferon α2b. In plants, prolines in certain classes of proteins are hydroxylated and further substituted with plant-specific O-glycosylation; unsubstituted hydroxyprolines were identified in our MUC1 construct. In summary, this study demonstrates that mammalian type O-glycosylation can be established in plants and that plants may serve as a host cell for production of recombinant O-glycoproteins with custom-designed O-glycosylation. The observed hydroxyproline modifications, however, call for additional future engineering efforts.
Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Flakkebjerg, 4200 Slagelse, Denmark.
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