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Control of glycoprotein synthesis: substrate specificity of rat liver UDP-GlcNAc:Manα3R β2-N-acetylglucosaminyl-transferase I using synthetic substrate analogues


UDP-GlcNAc: Manα3R β2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I (GlcNAc-T I; EC is the key enzyme in the synthesis of complex and hybrid N-glycans. Rat liver GlcNAc-T I has been purified more than 25,000-fold (M r 42,000). TheV max for the pure enzyme with [Manα6(Manα3)Manα6](Manα3)Manβ4GlcNAcβ4GlcNAcβ-Asn as substrate was 4.6 µmol min−1 mg−1. Structural analysis of the enzyme product by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy proved that the enzyme adds anN-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) residue in β1–2 linkage to the Manα3Manβ-terminus of the substrate. Several derivatives of Manα6(Manα3)Manβ-R, a substrate for the enzyme, were synthesized and tested as substrates and inhibitors. An unsubstituted equatorial 4-hydroxyl and an axial 2-hydroxyl on the β-linked mannose of Manα6(Manα3)Manβ-R are essential for GlcNAc-T I activity. Elimination of the 4-hydroxyl of the α3-linked mannose (Man) of the substrate increases theK M 20-fold. Modifications on the α6-linked mannose or on the core structure affect mainly theK M and to a lesser degree theV max, e.g., substitutions of the Manα6 residue at the 2-position by GlcNAc or at the 3- and 6-positions by mannose lower theK M, whereas various other substitutions at the 3-position increase theK M slightly. Manα6(Manα3)4-O-methyl-Manβ4GlcNAc was found to be a weak inhibitor of GlcNAc-T I.

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Bovine serum albumin



Fuc, F:


Gal, G:


GalNAc, GA:




GlcNAc, Gn:



high performance liquid chromatography

Man, M:



8-methoxycarbonyl-octyl, (CH2)8 COOOCH3






nuclear magnetic resonance






sodium dodecyl sulfate







{0, 2 + F}:

Manα6 (GlcNAcβ2Manα3) Manβ4GlcNAcβ4 (Fucα6) GlcNAc

{2, 2}:

GlcNAcβ2Manα6 (GlcNAcβ2Manα3) Manβ4GlcNAcβ4GlcNAc; M5-glycopeptide, Manα6 (Manα3) Manα6 (Manα3) Manβ4 GlcNAcβ4GlcNAcβ-Asn


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Author information

Correspondence to Inka Brockhausen.

Additional information

Enzymes: GlcNAc-transferase I, EC; GlcNAc-transferase II, EC; GlcNAc-transferase III, EC; GlcNAc-transferase IV, EC; GlcNAc-transferase V, UDP-GlcNAc: GlcNAcβ2 Manα6-R (GlcNAc to Man) β6-GlcNAc-transferase; GlcNAc-transferase VI, UDP-GlcNAc: GlcNAcβ6(GlcNAcβ2) Manα6-R (GlcNAc to Man) β4-GlcNAc-transferase; Core 1 β3-Gal-transferase, EC; β4-Gal-transferase, EC; β3-Gal-transferase, UDP-Gal: GlcNAcβ-R β3-Gal-transferase; blood group i β3-GlcNAc-transferase, EC; blood group I β6-GlcNAc-transferase, UDP-GlcNAc: GlcNAcβ3Galβ-R (GlcNAc to Gal) β6-GlcNAc-transferase.

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Möller, G., Reck, F., Paulsen, H. et al. Control of glycoprotein synthesis: substrate specificity of rat liver UDP-GlcNAc:Manα3R β2-N-acetylglucosaminyl-transferase I using synthetic substrate analogues. Glycoconjugate J 9, 180–190 (1992).

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  • GlcNAc-transferase I
  • substrate specificity
  • glycoprotein biosynthesis
  • N-linked glycans