Dystroglycan is a cell membrane receptor that organizes the basement membrane by binding ligands in the extracellular matrix. Proper glycosylation of the α-dystroglycan (α-DG) subunit is essential for these activities, and lack thereof results in neuromuscular disease. Currently, neither the glycan synthesis pathway nor the roles of many known or putative glycosyltransferases that are essential for this process are well understood. Here we show that FKRP, FKTN, TMEM5 and B4GAT1 (formerly known as B3GNT1) localize to the Golgi and contribute to the O-mannosyl post-phosphorylation modification of α-DG. Moreover, we assigned B4GAT1 a function as a xylose β1,4-glucuronyltransferase. Nuclear magnetic resonance studies confirmed that a glucuronic acid β1,4-xylose disaccharide synthesized by B4GAT1 acts as an acceptor primer that can be elongated by LARGE with the ligand-binding heteropolysaccharide. Our findings greatly broaden the understanding of α-DG glycosylation and provide mechanistic insight into why mutations in B4GAT1 disrupt dystroglycan function and cause disease.
Animal experimentation: Animal care, ethical usage and procedures were approved and performed in accordance with the standards set forth by the National Institutes of Health and the Animal Care Use and Review Committee at the University of Iowa (protocol #4081122). At the University of Iowa all mice are socially housed (unless single housing is required) under specific pathogen-free conditions in an AAALAC accredited animal facility. Housing conditions are as specified in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NRC). Mice are housed on Thoren brand, HEPA filtered ventilated racks, in solid bottom cages with mixed paper bedding. A standard 12/12-h light/dark cycle was used. Standard rodent chow (or special diet if required) and water is available ad libitum.
- Suzanne R Pfeffer, Stanford University, United States
© 2014, Willer et al.
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