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J Biol Chem. 1992 Sep 25;267(27):19607-16.

Cloning and expression of the cDNA sequence encoding the lysosomal glycosidase di-N-acetylchitobiase.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Althouse Laboratory, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802.


Di-N-acetylchitobiase (chitobiase) is a lysosomal glycosidase involved in the degradation of asparagine-linked glycoproteins. Previous studies have revealed that chitobiase is unique among lysosomal glycosidases in that it may not be expressed universally in mammals. In this study we have isolated full-length cDNA clones for human placenta and rat liver chitobiase. The cDNAs from both species encode a glycosylated polypeptide of approximately 40 kDa that displays chitobiase activity when expressed in COS-1 cells. By using the rat cDNA sequence as a hybridization probe, genomic DNA from several species was analyzed for chitobiase gene sequences. The results from these experiments suggest bovine and dog, two species that are believed to be chitobiase-deficient, maintain the chitobiase gene as part of their genetic load. The first three exons of the bovine chitobiase gene were cloned and found to encode an open reading frame that is 77% identical to both human and rat chitobiase. Northern blotting and amplification of mRNA by the polymerase chain reaction indicate that the chitobiase gene in bovine is functional, however, the level of expression is low. The presence of residual amounts of chitobiase enzyme activity in bovine liver and brain was demonstrated. Congruency of the very low levels of chitobiase enzyme to a similarly low level of chitobiase gene expression in bovine indicates that chitobiase in this species has a minor role in hydrolyzing the reducing end GlcNAc of asparagine-linked glycoproteins within the lysosomes. This is in contrast to a species such as human that express substantial quantities of this glycosidase. Thus, the extreme range of chitobiase gene expression among species explains why either 1 or 2 GlcNAc residues remain intact at the reducing end of stored oligosaccharides when either chitobiase-expressing or chitobiase-deficient species, respectively, suffers from a lysosomal storage disease.

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