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J Biol Chem. 2012 Mar 16;287(12):9560-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.271767. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Absence of post-phosphoryl modification in dystroglycanopathy mouse models and wild-type tissues expressing non-laminin binding form of α-dystroglycan.

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Division of Neurology/Molecular Brain Science, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan.


α-Dystroglycan (α-DG) is a membrane-associated glycoprotein that interacts with several extracellular matrix proteins, including laminin and agrin. Aberrant glycosylation of α-DG disrupts its interaction with ligands and causes a certain type of muscular dystrophy commonly referred to as dystroglycanopathy. It has been reported that a unique O-mannosyl tetrasaccharide (Neu5Ac-α2,3-Gal-β1,4-GlcNAc-β1,2-Man) and a phosphodiester-linked modification on O-mannose play important roles in the laminin binding activity of α-DG. In this study, we use several dystroglycanopathy mouse models to demonstrate that, in addition to fukutin and LARGE, FKRP (fukutin-related protein) is also involved in the post-phosphoryl modification of O-mannose on α-DG. Furthermore, we have found that the glycosylation status of α-DG in lung and testis is minimally affected by defects in fukutin, LARGE, or FKRP. α-DG prepared from wild-type lung- or testis-derived cells lacks the post-phosphoryl moiety and shows little laminin-binding activity. These results show that FKRP is involved in post-phosphoryl modification rather than in O-mannosyl tetrasaccharide synthesis. Our data also demonstrate that post-phosphoryl modification not only plays critical roles in the pathogenesis of dystroglycanopathy but also is a key determinant of α-DG functional expression as a laminin receptor in normal tissues and cells.

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