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J Biol Chem. 2002 Feb 1;277(5):3168-75. Epub 2001 Nov 6.

Composition of Drosophila melanogaster proteome involved in fucosylated glycan metabolism.

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MediCel Ltd., Haartmaninkatu 8, FIN-00290, Helsinki, Finland.


The whole genome approach enables the characterization of all components of any given biological pathway. Moreover, it can help to uncover all the metabolic routes for any molecule. Here we have used the genome of Drosophila melanogaster to search for enzymes involved in the metabolism of fucosylated glycans. Our results suggest that in the fruit fly GDP-fucose, the donor for fucosyltransferase reactions, is formed exclusively via the de novo pathway from GDP-mannose through enzymatic reactions catalyzed by GDP-D-mannose 4,6-dehydratase (GMD) and GDP-4-keto-6-deoxy-D-mannose 3,5-epimerase/4-reductase (GMER, also known as FX in man). The Drosophila genome does not have orthologs for the salvage pathway enzymes, i.e. fucokinase and GDP-fucose pyrophosphorylase synthesizing GDP-fucose from fucose. In addition we identified two novel fucosyltransferases predicted to catalyze alpha1,3- and alpha1,6-specific linkages to the GlcNAc residues on glycans. No genes with the capacity to encode alpha1,2-specific fucosyltransferases were found. We also identified two novel genes coding for O-fucosyltransferases and a gene responsible for a fucosidase enzyme in the Drosophila genome. Finally, using the Drosophila CG4435 gene, we identified two novel human genes putatively coding for fucosyltransferases. This work can serve as a basis for further whole-genome approaches in mapping all possible glycosylation pathways and as a basic analysis leading to subsequent experimental studies to verify the predictions made in this work.

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