An α-mannosidase II-like activity was identified in baculovirus-infected Spodoptera frugiperda (IPLB-SF21-AE) cells. The enzyme responsible was purified from Golgi-type membranes to apparent homogeneity by using a combination of steps including DEAE-cellulose, hydroxyapatite, concanavalin A–Sepharose and gel filtration chromatography. The molecular mass of this purified protein was approx. 120 kDa by SDS/PAGE under reducing conditions and approx. 240 kDa under non-reducing conditions, indicating that the enzyme is a disulphide-linked dimer. Substrates demonstrated to undergo hydrolysis with this enzyme were GlcNAc-Man5-GlcNAc-GlcNAc (non-reduced and reduced) and p-nitrophenyl α-d-mannopyranoside. The oligosaccharide substrate was converted into GlcNAc-Man3-GlcNAc-GlcNAc through an intermediate GlcNAc-Man4-GlcNAc-GlcNAc. Treatment of the isolated intermediate oligosaccharide with endoglycosidase H resulted in its conversion into GlcNAc-Man4-GlcNAc. This indicated that it contained the α-1,3-linked mannose residue on the α-1,6-linked mannose arm and showed that the α-1,6-linked mannose residue on the α-1,6-linked mannose arm had been preferentially hydrolysed by the mannosidase. The oligosaccharide lacking the β-1,2-linked GlcNAc residue on the α-1,3-linked mannose arm (Man5-GlcNAc-GlcNAc) was not hydrolysed in the presence of the enzyme. Metal ions were not required for enzymic activity on any of the substrates, but Cu2+ was strongly inhibitory. The activity of the enzyme was inhibited at low concentrations of swainsonine, but much higher concentrations of 1-deoxymannojirimycin were required to achieve inhibition. All of these properties are characteristic of mannosidase II enzymes from other eukaryotic tissues. The presence of mannosidase II in lepidopteran insect cells would allow entry of N-linked glycoproteins into the complex processing reaction pathway or into the terminal Man3-GlcNAc-GlcNAc pathway.

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