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J Biol Chem. 2001 May 11;276(19):16271-8. Epub 2001 Feb 15.

Human corneal GlcNac 6-O-sulfotransferase and mouse intestinal GlcNac 6-O-sulfotransferase both produce keratan sulfate.

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  • 1Glycobiology Program, The Burnham Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Human corneal N-acetylglucosamine 6-O-sulfotransferase (hCGn6ST) has been identified by the positional candidate approach as the gene responsible for macular corneal dystrophy (MCD). Because of its high homology to carbohydrate sulfotransferases and the presence of mutations of this gene in MCD patients who lack sulfated keratan sulfate in the cornea and serum, hCGn6ST protein is thought to be a sulfotransferase that catalyzes sulfation of GlcNAc in keratan sulfate. In this report, we analyzed the enzymatic activity of hCGn6ST by expressing it in cultured cells. A lysate prepared from HeLa cells transfected with an intact form of hCGn6ST cDNA or culture medium from cells transfected with a secreted form of hCGn6ST cDNA showed an activity of transferring sulfate to C-6 of GlcNAc of synthetic oligosaccharide substrates in vitro. When hCGn6ST was expressed together with human keratan sulfate Gal-6-sulfotransferase (hKSG6ST), HeLa cells produced highly sulfated carbohydrate detected by an anti-keratan sulfate antibody 5D4. These results indicate that hCGn6ST transfers sulfate to C-6 of GlcNAc in keratan sulfate. Amino acid substitutions in hCGn6ST identical to changes resulting from missense mutations found in MCD patients abolished enzymatic activity. Moreover, mouse intestinal GlcNAc 6-O-sulfotransferase had the same activity as hCGn6ST. This observation suggests that mouse intestinal GlcNAc 6-O-sulfotransferase is the orthologue of hCGn6ST and functions as a sulfotransferase to produce keratan sulfate in the cornea.

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