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Glycobiology. 2010 Mar;20(3):287-99. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwp173. Epub 2009 Nov 11.

Mammalian Notch is modified by D-Xyl-alpha1-3-D-Xyl-alpha1-3-D-Glc-beta1-O-Ser: implementation of a method to study O-glucosylation.

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Department of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.


Notch is a key cell surface protein receptor that is a vital component of intercellular signaling occurring during development. The O-glucosylation of the extracellular Notch epidermal growth factor-like (EGF) repeats has recently been found to play an important role in the proper functioning of Notch in Drosophila. Previous efforts to identify the fine structure of the O-glucose-containing glycan of mammalian Notch have been hindered by limitations associated with approaches used to date. Here, we report the development of an alternative strategy that can be used to study this modification from a range of different tissues. To implement this approach, we have generated standards of the D-Xyl-alpha1-3-D-Xyl-alpha1-3-D-Glc trisaccharide, isomers of this structure, as well as the d-Xyl-alpha1-3-d-Glc disaccharide found previously on secreted EGF-containing proteins of the blood coagulation cascade. Following derivatization with 8-aminopyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonate (APTS), we use these standards in capillary electrophoretic analyses of O-glycans released from Notch1 EGF repeats in conjunction with exo-alpha-xylosidase digestion. These studies collectively reveal that the O-glucose-containing glycan decorating mammalian Notch is the D-Xyl-alpha1-3-D-Xyl-alpha1-3-D-Glc trisaccharide; an assignment in accord with previous predictions. Given the demonstrated importance of this modification in the function of Notch in Drosophila, we expect that the identification of this glycan decorating mammalian Notch1 should aid studies into the functional role of O-glycosylation of mammalian Notch isoforms. Wider application of this approach should facilitate identification of other EGF-containing proteins bearing this O-glycan and aid in their study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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