• Authors: Song, L., Bachert, C., Schjoldager, K. T., Clausen, H., Linstedt, A. D.
  • Year: 2014
  • Journal: J Biol Chem 289 30556-66
  • Applications: in vitro / DNA / jetPEI
  • Cell type: HEK-293
    Description: Human embryonic kidney Fibroblast
    Known as: HEK293, 293


Humans express up to 20 isoforms of GalNAc-transferase (herein T1-T20) that localize to the Golgi apparatus and initiate O-glycosylation. Regulation of this enzyme family affects a vast array of proteins transiting the secretory pathway and diseases arise upon misregulation of specific isoforms. Surprisingly, molecular probes to monitor GalNAc-transferase activity are lacking and there exist no effective global or isoform-specific inhibitors. Here we describe the development of T2- and T3-isoform specific fluorescence sensors that traffic in the secretory pathway. Each sensor yielded little signal when glycosylated but was strongly activated in the absence of its glycosylation. Specificity of each sensor was assessed in HEK cells with either the T2 or T3 enzymes deleted. Although the sensors are based on specific substrates of the T2 and T3 enzymes, elements in or near the enzyme recognition sequence influenced their activity and required modification, which we carried out based on previous in vitro work. Significantly, the modified T2 and T3 sensors were activated only in cells lacking their corresponding isozymes. Thus, we have developed T2- and T3-specific sensors that will be valuable in both the study of GalNAc-transferase regulation and in high-throughput screening for potential therapeutic regulators of specific GalNAc-transferases.