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J Biol Chem. 2010 Feb 5;285(6):4122-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.016964. Epub 2009 Nov 30.

Two pathways for importing GDP-fucose into the endoplasmic reticulum lumen function redundantly in the O-fucosylation of Notch in Drosophila.

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  • 1Genome and Drug Research Center, Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, 2641 Yamazaki, Noda, Chiba 278-8510, Japan.


Notch is a transmembrane receptor that shares homology with proteins containing epidermal growth factor-like repeats and mediates the cell-cell interactions necessary for many cell fate decisions. In Drosophila, O-fucosyltransferase 1 catalyzes the O-fucosylation of these epidermal growth factor-like repeats. This O-fucose elongates, resulting in an O-linked tetrasaccharide that regulates the signaling activities of Notch. Fucosyltransferases utilize GDP-fucose, which is synthesized in the cytosol, but fucosylation occurs in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi. Therefore, GDP-fucose uptake into the ER and Golgi is essential for fucosylation. However, although GDP-fucose biosynthesis is well understood, the mechanisms and intracellular routes of GDP-fucose transportation remain unclear. Our previous study on the Drosophila Golgi GDP-fucose transporter (Gfr), which specifically localizes to the Golgi, suggested that another GDP-fucose transporter(s) exists in Drosophila. Here, we identified Efr (ER GDP-fucose transporter), a GDP-fucose transporter that localizes specifically to the ER. Efr is a multifunctional nucleotide sugar transporter involved in the biosynthesis of heparan sulfate-glycosaminoglycan chains and the O-fucosylation of Notch. Comparison of the fucosylation defects in the N-glycans in Gfr and Efr mutants revealed that Gfr and Efr made distinct contributions to this modification; Gfr but not Efr was crucial for the fucosylation of N-glycans. We also found that Gfr and Efr function redundantly in the O-fucosylation of Notch, although they had different localizations and nucleotide sugar transportation specificities. These results indicate that two pathways for the nucleotide sugar supply, involving two nucleotide sugar transporters with distinct characteristics and distributions, contribute to the O-fucosylation of Notch.

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