Identification of a novel protein binding motif within the T-synthase for the molecular chaperone Cosmc [Protein Structure and Folding]

March 10th, 2014 by Aryal, R. P., Ju, T., Cummings, R. D.

Prior studies suggested that the T-synthase is a specific client of the endoplasmic reticulum chaperone Cosmc, whose function is required for T-synthase folding, activity, and consequent synthesis of normal O-glycans in all vertebrate cells. To explore whether the T-synthase encodes a specific recognition motif for Cosmc, we used deletion mutagenesis to identify a cryptic linear and relatively hydrophobic peptide in the N-terminal stem region of the T-synthase that is essential for binding to Cosmc (Cosmc Binding Region within T-synthase or CBRT). Using this sequence information we synthesized a peptide containing CBRT and found that it directly interacts with Cosmc, and also inhibits Cosmc-assisted in vitro refolding of denatured T-synthase. Moreover, engineered T-synthase carrying mutations within CBRT exhibited diminished binding to Cosmc that resulted in the formation of inactive T-synthase. To confirm the general recognition of CBRT by Cosmc, we performed a domain swap experiment in which we inserted the stem region of the T-synthase into the human β4GalT1 and found that the CBRT element can confer Cosmc binding onto the β4GalT1 chimera. Thus, CBRT is a unique recognition motif for Cosmc to promote its regulation and formation of active T-synthase and represents the first sequence-specific chaperone recognition system in the ER/Golgi required for normal protein O-glycosylation.