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J Biol Chem. 2006 Apr 7;281(14):9385-92. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Two distinct pathways for O-fucosylation of epidermal growth factor-like or thrombospondin type 1 repeats.

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


Epidermal growth factor-like (EGF) repeats and thrombospondin type 1 repeats (TSRs) are both small cysteine-knot motifs known to be O-fucosylated. The enzyme responsible for the addition of O-fucose to EGF repeats, protein O-fucosyltransferase 1 (POFUT1), has been identified and shown to be essential in Notch signaling. Fringe, an O-fucose beta1,3-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase, elongates O-fucose on specific EGF repeats from Notch to form a disaccharide that can be further elongated to a tetrasaccharide. TSRs are found in many extracellular matrix proteins and are involved in protein-protein interactions. The O-fucose moiety on TSRs can be further elongated with glucose to form a disaccharide. The discovery of O-fucose on TSRs raised the question of whether POFUT1, or a different enzyme, adds O-fucose to TSRs. Here we demonstrate the existence of a TSR-specific O-fucosyltransferase distinct from POFUT1. Similar to POFUT1, the novel TSR-specific O-fucosyltransferase is a soluble enzyme that requires a properly folded TSR as an acceptor substrate. In addition, we found that a previously identified fucose-specific beta1,3-glucosyltransferase adds glucose to O-fucose on TSRs, but it does not modify O-fucose on an EGF repeat. Similarly, Lunatic fringe, Manic fringe, and Radical fringe are all capable of modifying O-fucose on an EGF repeat, but not on a TSR. Taken together, these results suggest that two distinct O-fucosylation pathways exist in cells, one specific for EGF repeat and the other for TSRs.

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