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J Biol Chem. 2004 Aug 20;279(34):36083-92. Epub 2004 Jun 18.

Human Smp3p adds a fourth mannose to yeast and human glycosylphosphatidylinositol precursors in vivo.

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New England Biolabs, Beverly, Massachusetts 01915, USA.


Yeast and human glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) precursors differ in the extent to which a fourth mannose is present as a side branch of the third core mannose. A fourth mannose addition to GPIs has scarcely been detected in studies of mammalian GPI synthesis but is an essential step in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae pathway. We report that human SMP3 encodes a functional homolog of the yeast Smp3 GPI fourth mannosyl-transferase. Expression of hSMP3 in yeast complements growth and biochemical defects of smp3 mutants and permits in vivo mannosylation of trimannosyl (Man(3))-GPIs. Immunolocalization shows that hSmp3p resides in the endoplasmic reticulum in human cells. Northern analysis of mRNA from human tissues and cell lines indicates that hSMP3 is expressed in most tissues, with the highest levels in brain and colon, but its mRNA is nearly absent from cultured human cell lines. Correspondingly, increasing expression of hSMP3 in cultured HeLa cells causes abundant formation of three putative tetramannosyl (Man(4))-GPIs. Our data indicate that hSmp3p functions as a mannosyltransferase that adds a fourth mannose to certain Man(3)-GPIs during biosynthesis of the human GPI precursor, and suggest it may do so in a tissue-specific manner.

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