In vitro biosynthesis of glycosylphosphatidylinositol in Aspergillus fumigatus

Thierry Fontaine, Terry K. Smith, Arthur Crossman, John S. Brimacombe, Jean-Paul Latge, Michael A. J. Ferguson

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) represents a mechanism for the attachment of proteins to the plasma membrane found in all eukaryotic cells. GPI biosynthesis has been mainly studied in parasites, yeast, and mammalian cells. Aspergillus fumigatus, a filamentous fungus, produces GPI-anchored molecules, some of them being essential in the construction of the cell wall. An in vitro assay was used to study the GPI biosynthesis in the mycelium form of this organism. In the presence of UDP-GlcNAc and coenzyme A, the cell-free system produces the initial intermediates of the GPI biosynthesis: GlcNAc-PI, GlcN-PI, and GlcN-(acyl)PI. Using GDP-Man, two types of mannosylation are observed. First, one or two mannose residues are added to GlcN-PI. This mannosylation, never described in fungi, does not require dolichol phosphomannoside (Dol-P-Man) as the monosaccharide donor. Second, one to five mannose residues are added to GlcN-(acyl)PI using Dol-P-Man as the mannose donor. The addition of ethanolamine phosphate groups to the first, second, and third mannose residue is also observed. This latter series of GPI intermediates identified in the A. fumigatus cell-free system indicates that GPI biosynthesis in this filamentous fungus is similar to the mammalian or yeast systems. Thus, these biochemical data are in agreement with a comparative genome analysis that shows that all but 3 of the 21 genes described in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae GPI pathways are found in A. fumigatus.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15267-15275
    Number of pages9
    Issue number48
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2004


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