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PLoS One. 2013 May 8;8(5):e62229. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062229. Print 2013.

A phenylalanine to serine substitution within an O-protein mannosyltransferase led to strong resistance to PMT-inhibitors in Pichia pastoris.

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GlycoFi Inc., Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc., Lebanon, New Hampshire, United States of America.


Protein O-mannosyltransferases (PMTs) catalyze the initial reaction of protein O-mannosylation by transferring the first mannose unit onto serine and threonine residues of a nascent polypeptide being synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The PMTs are well conserved in eukaryotic organisms, and in vivo defects of these enzymes result in cell death in yeast and congenital diseases in humans. A group of rhodanine-3-acetic acid derivatives (PMTi) specifically inhibits PMT activity both in vitro and in vivo. As such, these chemical compounds have been effectively used to minimize the extent of O-mannosylation on heterologously produced proteins from different yeast expression hosts. However, very little is known about how these PMT-inhibitors interact with the PMT enzyme, or what structural features of the PMTs are required for inhibitor-protein interactions. To better understand the inhibitor-enzyme interactions, and to gain potential insights for developing more effective PMT-inhibitors, we isolated PMTi-resistant mutants in Pichia pastoris. In this study, we report the identification and characterization of a point mutation within the PpPMT2 gene. We demonstrate that this F664S point mutation resulted in a near complete loss of PMTi sensitivity, both in terms of growth-inhibition and reduction in O-mannosylglycan site occupancy. Our results provide genetic evidence demonstrating that the F664 residue plays a critical role in mediating the inhibitory effects of these PMTi compounds. Our data also indicate that the main target of these PMT-inhibitors in P. pastoris is Pmt2p, and that the F664 residue most likely interacts directly with the PMTi-compounds.

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