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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of conserved glycosylation sites in maturation and transport of influenza A virus hemagglutinin.

The role of three N-linked glycans which are conserved among various hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes of influenza A viruses was investigated by eliminating the conserved glycosylation (cg) sites at asparagine residues 12 (cg1), 28 (cg2), and 478 (cg3) by site-directed mutagenesis. An additional mutant was constructed by eliminating the cg3 site and introducing a novel site 4 amino acids away, at position 482. Expression of the altered HA proteins in eukaryotic cells by a panel of recombinant vaccinia viruses revealed that rates and efficiency of intracellular transport of HA are dependent upon both the number of conserved N-linked oligosaccharides and their respective positions on the polypeptide backbone. Glycosylation at two of the three sites was sufficient for maintenance of transport of the HA protein. Conserved glycosylation at either the cg1 or cg2 site alone also promoted efficient transport of HA. However, the rates of transport of these mutants were significantly reduced compared with the wild-type protein or single-site mutants of HA. The transport of HA proteins lacking all three conserved sites or both amino-terminally located sites was temperature sensitive, implying that a polypeptide folding step had been affected. Analysis of trimer assembly by these mutants indicated that the presence of a single oligosaccharide in the stem domain of the HA molecule plays an important role in preventing aggregation of molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum, possibly by maintaining the hydrophilic properties of this domain. The conformational change observed after loss of all three conserved oligosaccharides also resulted in exposure of a normally mannose-rich oligosaccharide at the tip of the large stem helix that allowed its conversion to a complex type of structure. Evidence was also obtained suggesting that carbohydrate-carbohydrate interactions between neighboring oligosaccharides at positions 12 and 28 influence the accessibility of the cg2 oligosaccharide for processing enzymes. We also showed that terminal glycosylation of the cg3 oligosaccharide is site specific, since shifting of this site 4 amino acids away, to position 482, yielded an oligosaccharide that was arrested in the mannose-rich form. In conclusion, carbohydrates at conserved positions not only act synergistically by promoting and stabilizing a conformation compatible with transport, they also enhance trimerization and/or folding rates of the HA protein.[1]


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