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Mol Cell. 2012 May 25;46(4):542-8. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.04.031.

Mapping N-glycosylation sites across seven evolutionarily distant species reveals a divergent substrate proteome despite a common core machinery.

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Department of Proteomics and Signal Transduction, Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried 82152, Germany.


N-linked glycosylation is an important posttranslational modification in all eukaryotes, but little is known about the N-glycoproteomes in nonmammalian systems. Here, we measure N-glycoproteomes of the major model organisms Arabidopsis thaliana, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, and Danio rerio, representatively spanning the eukaryotic domain of life. The number of detected N-glycosylation sites varied between 425 in fission yeast, 516 in budding yeast, 1,794 in worm, 2,186 in plant, 2,229 in fly, and 2,254 in zebrafish. We find that all eukaryotic N-glycoproteomes have invariant characteristics including sequence recognition patterns, structural constraints, and subcellular localization. However, a surprisingly large percentage of the N-glycoproteome evolved after the phylogenetic divergences between plants, fungi, nematodes, insects, and vertebrates. Many N-glycosylated proteins coevolved with the rise of extracellular processes that are specific within corresponding phylogenetic groups and essential for organismal development, body growth, and organ formation.

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