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Glycobiology. 2001 May;11(5):61R-70R.

The ins(ide) and out(side) of dolichyl phosphate biosynthesis and recycling in the endoplasmic reticulum.

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  • 1Institute for Microbiology, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


The precursor oligosaccharide donor for protein N-glycosylation in eukaryotes, Glc3Man9GlcNAc(2)-P-P-dolichol, is synthesized in two stages on both leaflets of the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER). There is good evidence that the level of dolichyl monophosphate (Dol-P) is one rate-controlling factor in the first stage of the assembly process. In the current topological model it is proposed that ER proteins (flippases) then mediate the transbilayer movement of Man-P-Dol, Glc-P-Dol, and Man5GlcNAc(2)-P-P-Dol from the cytoplasmic leaflet to the lumenal leaflet. The rate of flipping of the three intermediates could plausibly influence the conversion of Man5GlcNAc(2)-P-P-Dol to Glc3Man(9)GlcNAc(2)-P-P-Dol in the second stage on the lumenal side of the rough ER. This article reviews the current understanding of the enzymes involved in the de novo biosynthesis of Dol-P and other polyisoprenoid glycosyl carrier lipids and speculates about the role of membrane proteins and enzymes that could be involved in the transbilayer movement of the lipid intermediates and the recycling of Dol-P and Dol-P-P discharged during glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor biosynthesis, N-glycosylation, and O- and C-mannosylation reactions on the lumenal surface of the rough ER.

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