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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Feb;60(2):241-50.

O-fucose modifications of epidermal growth factor-like repeats and thrombospondin type 1 repeats: unusual modifications in unusual places.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Institute for Cell and Developmental Biology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-5215, USA.


Recent discoveries revealing that carbohydrate modifications play critical roles in a wide variety of biological processes have brought wide recognition to the field of glycobiology. Growing attention has focused on the function of unusual O-linked carbohydrate modifications such as O-fucose. O-fucose modifications have been described in several different protein contexts, including epidermal growth factor-like repeats and thrombospondin type 1 repeats. The O-fucose modifications on thrombospondin type 1 repeats have only recently been described, but the site of modification occurs in a region proposed to play a role in cell adhesion. O-fucose modifications on epidermal growth factor-like repeats have been described as important players in several signal transduction systems. For instance, Notch, a cell-surface signaling receptor required for many developmental events, bears multiple O-fucose saccharides on the epidermal growth factor-like repeat of its extracellular domain. The O-fucose moieties serve as a substrate for the beta1,3 N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase activity of Fringe, a known modifier of Notch function. The alteration of O-fucose structures by Fringe influences the ability of Notch ligands to activate the receptor and provides a means to regulate Notch signaling. Thus, O-fucose and Fringe provide a clear example of how carbohydrate modifications can have direct functional consequences on the proteins they modify.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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