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J Biol Chem. 2007 Mar 23;282(12):9127-42. Epub 2007 Jan 29.

Dynamic developmental elaboration of N-linked glycan complexity in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo.

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Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


The structural diversity of glycoprotein N-linked oligosaccharides is determined by the expression and regulation of glycosyltransferase activities and by the availability of the appropriate acceptor/donor substrates. Cells in different tissues and in different developmental stages utilize these control points to manifest unique glycan expression patterns in response to their surroundings. The activity of a Toll-like receptor, called Tollo/Toll-8, induces a pattern of incompletely defined, but neural specific, glycan expression in the Drosophila embryo. Understanding the full extent of the changes in glycan expression that result from altered Tollo/Toll-8 signaling requires characterization of the complete N-linked glycan profile of both wild-type and mutant embryos. N-Linked glycans harvested from wild-type or mutant embryos were subjected to direct structural analysis by analytic and preparative high pressure liquid chromatography, by multidimensional mass spectrometry, and by exoglycosidase digestion, revealing a predominance of high mannose and paucimannose glycans. Di-, mono-, and nonfucosylated forms of hybrid, complex biantennary, and triantennary glycans account for 12% of the total wild-type glycan profile. Two sialylated glycans bearing N-acetylneuraminic acid were detected, the first direct demonstration of this modification in Drosophila. Glycan profiles change during normal development consistent with increasing alpha-mannosidase II and core fucosyl-transferase enzyme activities, and with decreasing activity of the Fused lobes processing hexosaminidase. In tollo/toll-8 mutants, a dramatic, expected loss of difucosylated glycans is accompanied by unexpected decreases in monofucosylated and nonfucosylated hybrid glycans and increases in some nonfucosylated paucimannose and biantennary glycans. Therefore, tollo/toll-8 signaling influences flux through several processing steps that affect the maturation of N-linked glycans.

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