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Glycobiology. 2006 Jun;16(6):91R-101R. Epub 2006 Mar 1.

Asparagine-linked protein glycosylation: from eukaryotic to prokaryotic systems.

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Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Asparagine-linked protein glycosylation is a prevalent protein modification reaction in eukaryotic systems. This process involves the co-translational transfer of a pre-assembled tetradecasaccharide from a dolichyl-pyrophosphate donor to the asparagine side chain of nascent proteins at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane. Recently, the first such system of N-linked glycosylation was discovered in the Gram-negative bacterium, Campylobacter jejuni. Glycosylation in this organism involves the transfer of a heptasaccharide from an undecaprenyl-pyrophosphate donor to the asparagine side chain of proteins at the bacterial periplasmic membrane. Here we provide a detailed comparison of the machinery involved in the N-linked glycosylation systems of eukaryotic organisms, exemplified by the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with that of the bacterial system in C. jejuni. The two systems display significant similarities and the relative simplicity of the bacterial glycosylation process could provide a model system that can be used to decipher the complex eukaryotic glycosylation machinery.

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