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Biochemistry. 1995 Apr 11;34(14):4748-56.

Expression of blood group Lewis b determinant from Lewis a: association of this novel alpha (1,2)-L-fucosylating activity with the Lewis type alpha (1,3/4)-L-fucosyltransferase.

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  • 1Department of Gynecologic Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA.


Blood group H type 1 [Fuc alpha (1,2)Gal beta (1,3)GlcNAc beta-->] is known as the precursor structure of the blood group determinant, Lewis b [Fuc alpha (1,2)Gal beta (1,3)(Fuc alpha (1,4))GlcNAc beta-->]. Recently, a new biosynthetic route for Lewis b from Lewis a [Gal beta (1,3)(Fuc alpha (1,4))GlcNAc-->] was identified in human gastric carcinoma cells, colon carcinoma Colo 205, and ovarian tumor. The present study demonstrates the association of this new type of alpha (1,2)-L-fucosyltransferase (FT) activity with the Lewis-type alpha (1,3/4)-L-FT as follows: (i) the alpha (1,4)- and novel alpha (1,2)-FT activities of Colo 205 were much less inhibited than the alpha (1,3)-FT activity by N-ethylmaleimide [Ki(microM) = 714.0, 119.0, and 6.5 respectively]. (ii) The alpha (1,4)- and novel alpha (1,2)-FT activities emerged from a Sephacryl S-200 column in identical positions. (iii) A specific inhibitor (copolymer from 3-sulfo-Galbeta(1,3)GlcNAcbeta-O-allyl and acrylamide) of alpha(1,4)-FT activity inhibited both alpha(1,4)- and alpha(1,2)-FT activities in Sephacryl S-200 column effluent to almost the same extent (approximately 80%); (iv) separation of the Lewis-type alpha(1,3/4)-FT from the plasma-type alpha(1,3)-FT by specific elution of the affinity column (bovine IgG glycopep-Sepharose) with lactose and further purification on a Sephacryl S-100 HR column showed that (a) the alpha(1,3)-FT activity was the inherent capacity of the Lewis-type FT (Colo 205 fraction L) since approximately 90% of both the alpha(1,4)- and alpha(1,3)-FT activities is inhibited by the copolymer, (b) the unique ability of catalyzing the alpha(1,2)-L-fucosylation of Gal in Lewis a structure and also the alpha(1,3)-L-fucosylation of Glc in lactose-based structure belonged to the Lewis type enzyme (Colo 205 fraction L), (c) a measurement of the [14C]fucosyl products arising from the two acceptors Galbeta(1,3)(4,6-di-O-Me)GlcNAcbeta-O-Bn and 3-sulfo-Galbeta(1,3)GlcNAcbeta-O-A1 (specific for alpha(1,2) and alpha(1,4), respectively) taken in the same incubation mixture showed mutual inhibition by the acceptors ([Km for the alpha(1,4)-specific acceptor, 3-sulfo-Galbeta(1,3)GlcNAcbeta-O-A], increased from 32 to 50 microM in the presence of 7.5 mM Galbeta(1,3)(4,6-di-O-Me)GlcNAcbeta-O-Bn, whereas Ki for the mutual inhibition of alpha(1,2)-FT activity by the former was 102 microM], and (d) the Lewis-type FT, in contrast to the plasma type FT, was highly effective in fucosylating complex glycopeptides. (iv) A cloned FT (FT III:Lewis type) and the Colo 205 Lewis-type FT (fraction L) showed similar activities toward various acceptors; the enzymatic product resulting from the action of cloned FT on Galbeta(1,3)(Fucalpha(1,4))GlcNAc-beta-O-Bn was identified by FAB mass spectrometry as the difucosyl compound. (v) An examination of six human cell lines indicated that the novel alpha(1,2)-FT activity associates with the alpha(1,4)-FT activity.

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