Biosynthesis of N- and O-linked oligosaccharides of the low density lipoprotein receptor

R. D. Cummings, S. Kornfeld, W. J. Schneider, K. K. Hobgood, H. Tolleshaug, M. S. Brown, J. L. Goldstein

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185 Scopus citations


In human fibroblasts, the receptor for low density lipoprotein (LDL) is synthesized as a precursor of apparent M(r) = 120,000 which is converted to a mature form of apparent M(r) = 160,000, as determined by migration in sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gels (Tolleshaug, H., Goldstein, J.L., Schneider, W.J., and Brown, M.S. (1982) Cell 30, 715-724). The current paper describes the relationships of N- and O-glycosylation to this post-translational modification. Oligosaccharides were analyzed from precursor and mature forms of LDL receptors that had been immunoprecipitated from cells grown in media containing radioactive sugars. In human epidermoid carcinoma A-431 cells, the receptor precursor appears to contain one N-linked high mannose oligosaccharide and approximately 6-9 N-acetylgalactosamine residues linked O-glycosidically to Ser/Thr residues. In the mature receptor, the O-linked oligosaccharides are mono- and disialylated species having the core structure of galactose →N-acetylgalactosamine→Ser/Thr. The single N-linked oligosaccharide of the mature receptor can either be a tri- or tetraantennaary complex-type species. Similar results were obtained with normal human fibroblast receptor except that the O-linked oligosaccharides on the precursor are neutral disaccharides, of which one component is GalNAc and the N-linked complex type unit on the mature receptor is less branched. Since the addition of GalNAc residues to Ser/Thr residues precedes the conversion of N-linked high mannose-type oligosaccharides to complex-type structures, the transfer of N-acetylgalactosamine must occur prior to the entry of glycoproteins into the region of the Golgi containing the processing enzyme α-mannosidase I. We also studied the receptor from tunicamycin-treated cells and after treatment with neuraminidase. In addition, we analyzed the receptor synthesized by a lectin-resistant clone of Chinese hamster ovary cells that is deficient in adding galactose residues to both N- and O-linked oligosaccharides. These studies suggest that the apparent differences in molecular weight between the precursor and mature forms of the LDL receptor are largely, if not entirely, due to the addition of sialic acid and galactose residues to the O-linked GalNAc residues. These residues cause the LDL receptor to behave anomalously in SDS since the absolute amount of O-linked carbohydrate on the receptor is far less than that predicted by migration during electrophoresis in SDS-polyacrylamide gels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15261-15273
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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