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Biochemistry. 2007 May 8;46(18):5579-85. Epub 2007 Apr 17.

From peptide to protein: comparative analysis of the substrate specificity of N-linked glycosylation in C. jejuni.

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


The gram-negative bacterium Campylobacter jejuni was recently discovered to contain a general N-linked protein glycosylation pathway. Central to this pathway is PglB, a homologue of the Stt3p subunit of the eukaryotic oligosaccharyl transferase (OT), which is involved in the transfer of an oligosaccharide from a polyisoprenyl pyrophosphate carrier to the asparagine side chain of proteins within the conserved glycosylation sites D/E-X1-N-X2-S/T, where X1 and X2 can be any amino acids except proline. Using a library of peptide substrates and a quantitative radioactivity-based in vitro assay, we assessed the amino acids at each position of the consensus glycosylation sequence for their impact on glycosylation efficiency, whereby the sequence DQNAT was found to be the optimal acceptor substrate. In the context of a full-length folded protein, the differences between variations of the glycosylation sequences were found to be consistent with the trends observed from their peptidyl counterparts, though less dramatic because of additional influences. In addition to characterizing the acceptor preferences of PglB, we also assessed the selectivity toward the glycan donor. Interestingly, despite recent reports of relaxed selectivity toward the glycan donor, PglB was not found to be capable of utilizing glycosyl donors such as dolichyl-pyrophosphate-chitobiose, which is the minimum substrate for the eukaryotic OT process.

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