Trypanosoma brucei UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase has unusual substrate specificity and protects the parasite from stress

Luis Izquierdo, Abdel Atrih, Joao A. Rodrigues, Deuan C. Jones, Michael A. J. Ferguson

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    43 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper, we describe the range of N-linked glycan structures produced by wild-type and glucosidase II null mutant bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei parasites and the creation and characterization of a bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase null mutant. These analyses highlight peculiarities of the Trypanosoma brucei UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase, including an unusually wide substrate specificity, ranging from Man(5)GlcNAc(2) to Man(9)GlcNAc(2) glycans, and an unusually high efficiency in vivo, quantitatively glucosylating the Asn263 N-glycan of variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) 221 and 75% of all non-VSG N glycosylation sites. We also show that although Trypanosoma brucei UDP-glucose:glycoprotein glucosyltransferase is not essential for parasite growth at 37 degrees C, it is essential for parasite growth and survival at 40 degrees C. The null mutant was also shown to be hypersensitive to the effects of the N glycosylation inhibitor tunicamycin. Further analysis of bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei under normal conditions and stress conditions suggests that it does not have a classical unfolded protein response triggered by sensing unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum. Rather, judging by its uniform Grp78/BiP levels, it appears to have an unregulated and constitutively active endoplasmic reticulum protein folding system. We suggest that the latter may be particularly appropriate for this organism, which has an extremely high flux of glycoproteins through its secretory pathway.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)230-240
    Number of pages11
    JournalEukaryotic Cell
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


    • Animals
    • Glucans
    • Glucosyltransferases
    • Glycosylation
    • Humans
    • Protein Folding
    • Protozoan Proteins
    • Rats
    • Stress, Physiological
    • Substrate Specificity
    • Trypanosoma brucei brucei
    • Trypanosomiasis, African


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