A TBLASTN search with human UDP-GlcNAc:α-3-d-mannoside β-1,2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I (GnT I; EC 2.4.1.101) as a probe identified human and mouse Unigenes encoding a protein similar to human GnT I (34% identity over 340 amino acids). The recombinant protein converted Man(α1–6)[Man(α1–3)]Man(β1-)O-octyl to Man(α1–6)[GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1–3)]Man(β1-)O-octyl, the reaction catalysed by GnT I. The enzyme also added GlcNAc to Man(α1–6)[GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1–3)]Man(β1-)O-octyl (the substrate for β-1,2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase II), Man(α1-)O-benzyl [with Km values of ≈ 0.3 and > 30mM for UDP-GlcNAc and Man(α1-)O-benzyl respectively] and the glycopeptide CYA[Man(α1-)O-T]AV (Km ∼ 12mM). The product formed with Man(α1-)O-benzyl was identified as GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1-)O-benzyl by proton NMR spectroscopy. The enzyme was named UDP-GlcNAc:α-d-mannoside β-1,2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I.2 (GnT I.2). The human gene mapped to chromosome 1. Northern-blot analysis showed a 3.3kb message with a wide tissue distribution. The cDNA has a 1980bp open reading frame encoding a 660 amino acid protein with a type-2 domain structure typical of glycosyltransferases. Man(β1-)O-octyl, Man(β1-)O-p-nitrophenyl and GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1–6)[GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1–3)]Man(β1–4)GlcNAc(β1–4)GlcNAc(β1-)O-Asn were not acceptors, indicating that GnT I.2 is specific for α-linked terminal Man and does not have N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase III, IV, V, VII or VIII activities. CYA[Man(α1-)O-T]AV was between three and seven times more effective as an acceptor than the other substrates, suggesting that GnT I.2 may be responsible for the synthesis of the GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1-)O-Ser/Thr moiety on α-dystroglycan and other O-mannosylated proteins.

Abbreviations used: GnT I, UDP-GlcNAc:α-3-d-mannoside β1,2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I; GnT I.2, UDP-GlcNAc:α-d-mannoside β-1,2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I.2; Ni-NTA, Ni2+-nitrilotriacetate; NBT, Nitro Blue Tetrazolium; BCIP, 5-bromo-4-chloroindol-3-yl phosphate; M2-octyl, Man(α1–3)Man(β1-)O-octyl; GnGn, GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1–6)[GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1–3)]Man(β1–4)GlcNAc(β1–4)GlcNAc(β1-)O-Asn; M3-octyl, Man(α1–6)[Man(α1–3)]Man(β1-)O-octyl; GnM3-octyl, Man(α1–6)[GlcNAc(β1–2)Man(α1–3)]Man(β1-)O-octyl.

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Author notes

The nucleotide sequence data for the MGAT1.2 gene have been deposited in the GenBank Nucleotide Sequence Database under the accession numbers AF250859 and AAF71270.