Open Access

Glycosylation and the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator

Respiratory Research20012:276

https://doi.org/10.1186/rr69

Received: 30 May 2001

Accepted: 27 June 2001

Published: 7 August 2001

Abstract

The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) has been known for the past 11 years to be a membrane glycoprotein with chloride channel activity. Only recently has the glycosylation of CFTR been examined in detail, by O'Riordan et al in Glycobiology. Using cells that overexpress wild-type (wt)CFTR, the presence of polylactosamine was noted on the fully glycosylated form of CFTR. In the present commentary the results of that work are discussed in relation to the glycosylation phenotype of cystic fibrosis (CF), and the cellular localization and processing of ΔF508 CFTR. The significance of the glycosylation will be known when endogenous CFTR from primary human tissue is examined.

Keywords

ΔF508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) oligosaccharides polylactosamine

Introduction

Interest in glycosylation has been rekindled in the field of CF research since the identification of the CF gene, which encodes the CFTR membrane glycoprotein [1]. The renewed interest has been stimulated by recent developments resulting from attempts to reconcile the proposed function of CFTR with phenomena that are known to be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. Before the identification of the CFTR gene, many laboratories had described alterations in the glycosylation of CF glycoproteins, but no connection between the altered glycosylation and the pathogenesis of CF was established (for review [2]). This renewed interest fortuitously coincides with the development of automated methods for analysis of the extremely small amounts of relevant oligosaccharides in biologic systems [3].

For the past decade, reports have described CFTR as existing in three different forms, depending on glycosylation: nonglycosylated; core glycosylated; and complex glycosylated, fully mature. It has been reported that only the fully mature form is trafficked to the surface membrane, where it functions as a chloride channel. In some of those studies [4,5,6,7] the data have not been completely convincing, although the results have been widely accepted. Nevertheless, the most common mutation ΔF508 has been labeled a processing mutation. It has been reported that, at 26°C, ΔF508 CFTR travels to the surface, where it has chloride channel activity [8]. ΔF508 CFTR is also active when reconstituted into a lipid bilayer [9]. Indeed endogenous ΔF508 CFTR has been identified in the surface membranes of CF cells in culture [10,11,12,13,14,15]. As yet, no one has directly investigated the carbohydrate structure of CFTR, although many reports have appeared regarding a glycosylation phenotype of material from CF sources (for review [2]). The CF glycosylation phenotype, which is modulated by CFTR, is expressed as decreased sialic acid and an increased amount of fucose linked α1,3 to N-acetyl glucosamine [16].

Oligosaccharides of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator

Recently, O'Riordan et al [17] addressed glycosylation of CFTR directly. Following their earlier studies [18] on the isolation of CFTR from over-expressing Chinese hamster ovary and insect cells, CFTR was isolated from several cell types that were transfected with wtCFTR and that over-expressed it. The over-expression provided those investigators with sufficient CFTR to analyze the oligosaccharide residues in more detail. After immune precipitation the oligosaccharides were released from CFTR with N-glycanase and/or endo-β-galactosidase, and were further separated or examined using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and lectin (Datura stramonium agglutinin and Maackia amurensis agglutinin) affinity overlay. N-glycanase releases N-linked oligosaccharides from the protein, whereas endo-β-galactosidase cleaves polylactosamine containing Galβ1,4GlcNAcβ1,3 repeating units. They also used fluorophore-assisted carbohydrate electrophoresis analysis, a highly sensitive method that provides structural information on purified oligosaccharides.

Interestingly, those investigators found that fully mature, immunopurified CFTR from Chinese hamster ovary cells and a mammary tumor cell line (C127) transfected with wtCFTR contained polylactosamine. T-84 cells (a human colon carcinoma cell line) that were not transfected also had polylactosamine-containing CFTR. The significance of polylactosamine/CFTR would be much greater if endogenous CFTR were extracted from primary human tissue. Unfortunately, the three cell lines have transformed or tumor properties, and polylactosamine is known to occur in tumor cells [19] and Chinese hamster ovary cells [20]. Perhaps this is precisely why the authors did not expand on a relationship to the three size classes of CFTR. In addition, transformed and tumor cells also have an abundance of tri-antennary and tetra-antennary oligosaccharides, so this may have influenced their results [21]. A case in point is the analysis of CFTR from insect cells, Sf9, which were infected with wtCFTR/baculovirus. In this case the authors reported that CFTR contained the insect glycosylation phenotype and was not fully glycosylated. As the authors pointed out, the glycosylation phenotype is influenced by the host's enzymes; however, C127 cells transfected with ΔF508 CFTR showed the PAGE position of core glycosylated CFTR. If confirmed that CFTR isolated from C127 cells after transfection with ΔF508 was core glycosylated, then one has to assume that factors in addition to the host enzymes influence glycosylation of transfected cells. However, this mutant CFTR was not analyzed.

DeltaF508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator

O'Riordan et al [17] pointed out that the elongation of polylactosamine, in the Golgi at 21°C [22], correlates with the fact that ΔF508 will traffic to the membrane and have chloride channel activity at a reduced temperature [8]. They suggest that, at lower temperature, ΔF508 arrives at and trafficks through the Golgi at a slow rate and is polylactosaminylated. Another possibility is that an existing polylactosamine is elongated, and the glycosylation pattern of ΔF508 CFTR must be examined further to differentiate between these mechanisms. In recent studies, which are yet to be confirmed, a tissue-specific variation of ΔF508 CFTR expression from null to apparently normal amounts indicated that ΔF508 CFTR maturation can be modulated, suggesting that determinants other than CFTR mislocalization may play a role in ΔF508 CF respiratory and intestinal disease [23]. Trafficking between the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi appears more complex than was originally believed, and it has recently been proposed that wtCFTR follows a unique pathway [24].

In investigations into CFTR in immortalized airway epithelial cells, Wei et al [10] compared morphologically identifiable surface membranes with total cell membrane preparations containing intracellular membranes. Surface membrane CFTR had lower turnover defined by pulse/chase ratios than that of the total cell membrane preparations. Moreover, in the presence of 50 μmol/l castanospermine, an inhibitor of processing α-glucosidases that prevents binding to calnexin, a more rapid turnover of mutant CFTR was found in the total cell membrane preparation, whereas wtCFTR had a slower response. The results are compatible with a pool of CFTR in or near the surface membranes that has an altered turnover in CF and a glycosylation-dependent alteration in the processing of mutant CFTR [10]. It will be interesting to determine whether the surface membrane population of CFTR molecules is for use exclusively as channel proteins, whereas within the cell more than one function may be attributed to the protein.

A hypothesis has been proposed [25] that wtCFTR, by virtue of its proton pump function, contributes to Golgi processing and sorting [26] in airway epithelial cells. The hypothesis is supported by recent reports that the relevant activities of glycosyltransferases and levels of mRNA are the same in both CF and non-CF airway cells, despite the differences in the amounts of fucose and sialic acid in terminal positions in their cell surface membrane glycoproteins [16,25]. ΔF508 CFTR is proposed to affect glycoprotein processing in the Golgi, causing faulty compartmentalization of the glycosyltransferases, which results in the CF glycosylation phenotype. That is, if α1,3-fucosyltransferase is sorted to a compartment positioned prior to α1,2-fucosyltransferase and sialyl transferase, then the activity of the latter two enzymes would be decreased because the same substrate is required for all three enzymes [27]. The glycosylation pattern of wt and mutant CFTR could influence these events.

It has been shown with the use of over-expressing mutants that the features that determine the processing of CFTR are distinct from those that determine channel function [28]. Cunningham et al [29] postulated that the regulatory sites for CFTR trafficking must be either at the trans-Golgi network or peripheral vesicular pools, because the movement of CFTR out of the trans-Golgi network appears to control the onset of CFTR-mediated chloride secretion in a Brefeldin-sensitive pathway [30]. It has been proposed that a difference between CF and non-CF is the inability of ΔF508 CFTR to break out of a recycling pathway between surface membrane and a closely linked compartment [10]. Prince et al [31] reported a lack of internalization of wtCFTR with the addition of cAMP. That hyposialylation occurs in CF (for review [2,32]) may suggest that mutant CFTR does not return as efficiently to the trans-Golgi in its recycling pathway. The lack of proper oligosaccharides on the protein may cause this stable form of CFTR to be more sensitive to proteases, and hence to be degraded. It is also possible that both function and localization could independently vary in different cell types and different organs, accounting for the multiple phenotypes that characterize CF.

Conclusion

The methods utilized by O'Riordan et al [17] have given the most complete information on the glycosylation of CFTR to date. Those investigators should be congratulated and encouraged to pursue these studies with endogenous human CFTR. The micromethods for oligosaccharide analysis are in place, and both CF and non-CF airway tissues are available. When these analyses are complete, earlier studies can be reassessed and this will provide a more cohesive picture of the relationship of CFTR to glycosylation and of how CFTR is affected by glycosylation.

The key roles of oligosaccharide structures in some disease processes have recently been emphasized [3,33]. As pointed out by O'Riordan et al [17], the glycosylation of CFTR has potential implications for the treatment of CF. The determination the oligosaccharide structures of both mutant and wtCFTR from primary human tissue should provide new insights into the pathogenesis of CF. These new insights will provide the foundation for the development of new therapies for CF.

Abbreviations

CF: 

cystic fibrosis

CFTR: 

cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator

PAGE: 

polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

wt: 

wild-type.

Declarations

Acknowledgements

Supported in part by NIH grant R21 DK55610 and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Cystic Fibrosis Center and Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Abramson Pediatric Research Center

References

  1. Riordan JR, Rommens JM, Kerem B, Alon M, Rozmahel R, Grzelczak Z, Zielenski J, Lok S, Plavsic N, Chou JL, Drumm ML, Iannuzzi MC, Collins FS, Tsui LC: Identification of the cystic fibrosis gene: cloning and characterization of the complementary DNA. Science. 1989, 245: 1066-1073.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  2. Scanlin TF, Glick MC: Terminal glycosylation in cystic fibrosis. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999, 1455: 241-253. 10.1016/S0925-4439(99)00059-9.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  3. Alper J: Carbohydrates and glycobiology. Science. 2001, 291: 2337-2378. 10.1126/science.291.5512.2337.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  4. Gregory RJ, Cheng SH, Rich DP, Marshall J, Paul S, Hehir K, Ostedgaard L, Welsh MJ, Smith AE: Expression and characterization of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. Nature. 1990, 347: 382-386. 10.1038/347382a0.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  5. Cheng SH, Gregory RJ, Marshall J, Paul S, Souza DW, White GA, O'Riordan CR, Smith AE: Defective intracellular transport and processing of CFTR is the molecular basis of most cystic fibrosis. Cell. 1990, 63: 827-834.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  6. Drumm ML, Wilkinson DJ, Smit LS, Worell RT, Strong TV, Prizzell RA, Dawson DC, Collins FS: Chloride conductance expressed by ΔF508 and other mutant CFTRs in Xenopus oocytes. Science. 1991, 254: 1797-1799.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  7. Denning GM, Ostedgaard LW, Welsh M: Abnormal localization of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator in primary cultures of cystic fibrosis airway epithelia. J Biol Chem. 1992, 118: 551-559.Google Scholar
  8. Denning GM, Anderson MP, Amara JF, Marshall J, Smith AE, Welsh MJ: Processing of mutant cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator is temperature sensitive. Nature. 1992, 358: 761-764. 10.1038/358761a0.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  9. Li C, Ramjeesingh M, Reyes E, Jensen T, Chang X, Rommens JM, Bear CE: The cystic fibrosis mutation (ΔF508) does not influence the chloride channel activity of CFTR. Nat Genet. 1993, 3: 311-316.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  10. Wei X, Eisman R, Xu J, Harsch AD, Mulberg AE, Bevins CL, Glick MC, Scanlin TF: Turnover of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR): slow degradation of wild-type and ΔF508 CFTR in surface membrane preparations of immortalized airway epithelial cells. J Cell Physiol. 1996, 168: 373-384. 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4652(199608)168:2<373::AID-JCP16>3.0.CO;2-4.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  11. Sarkadi B, Bauzon D, Huckle WR, Earp HS, Berry A, Suchindran H, Price EM, Olsen JC, Boucher RC, Scarborough GA: Biochemical characterization of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator in normal and cystic fibrosis epithelial cells. J Biol Chem. 1992, 267: 2087-2095.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Zeitlin PL, Crawford I, Lu L, Woel S, Cohen ME, Donowitz M, Montrose MH, Hamosh A, Cutting GR, Gruenert D, Huganir R, Maloney P, Guggino WB: CFTR protein expression in primary and cultured epithelia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1992, 89: 344-347.PubMedPubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  13. Dalemans W, Barbry P, Champigny G, Jallat S, Dott K, Dreyer D, Crystal RG, Pavirani A, Lecocq JP, Lazdunski M: Altered chloride ion channel kinetics associated with the ΔF508 cystic fibrosis mutation. Nature. 1991, 354: 526-528. 10.1038/354526a0.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  14. Cheng SH, Fang SL, Zabner J, Marshall J, Piraino S, Schiavi SC, Jefferson DM, Welsh MJ, Smith AE: Functional activation of the cystic fibrosis trafficking mutant ΔF508-CFTR by overexpression. Am J Physiol. 1995, 268: L615-L624.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Drumm ML, Kelley TJ: Inhibition of specific phosphodiesterases in CF airway epithelial cells activates mutant CFTRs. Pediatr Pulmonol. 1995, 12S: 150-151.Google Scholar
  16. Rhim AD, Kothari VA, Park PJ, Mulberg AE, Glick MC, Scanlin TF: Terminal glycosylation of cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells. Glycoconj J. 2000, 17: 379-385. 10.1023/A:1007156014384.Google Scholar
  17. O'Riordan CR, Lachapelle AL, Marshall J, Higgins EA, Cheng AH: Characterization of the oligosaccharide structures associated with the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. Glycobiology. 2000, 10: 1225-1233. 10.1093/glycob/10.11.1225.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  18. O'Riordan CR, Erickson AL, Bear C, Li C, Manavalan P, Wang KX, Marshall J, Scheule RK, McPhearson JM, Cheng SH, Smith AE: Purification and characterization of recombinant cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator from chinese hamster ovary and insect cells. J Biol Chem. 1995, 270: 17033-17043. 10.1074/jbc.270.28.17033.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  19. Merkle RK, Cummings RD: Relationship of the terminal sequences to the length of poly-N-acetyllactosamine chains in asparagine-linked oligosaccharides from the mouse lymphoma cell line BW5147. Immobilized tomato lectin interacts with high affinity with glycopeptides containing long poly-N-acetyllactosamine chains. J Biol Chem. 1987, 262: 8179-8189.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Do KY, Smith DF, Cummings RD: LAMP-1 in CHO cells is a primary carrier of poly-N-acetyllactosamine chains and is bound preferentially by a mammalian S-type lectin. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1990, 73: 1123-1128.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  21. Scanlin TF, Glick MC: Terminal glycosylation and disease: Influence on cancer and cystic fibrosis. Glycoconj J. 2000, 17: 609-618. 10.1023/A:1011034912226.Google Scholar
  22. Wang WC, Lee N, Aoki D, Fukuda MN, Fukuda M: The poly-N-acetyllactosamines attached to lysosomal membrane glycoproteins are increased by the prolonged association with the Golgi complex. J Biol Chem. 1991, 266: 23185-23190.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Kälin N, Claaβ A, Sommer M, Puchelle E, Tümmler B: ΔF508 CFTR protein expression in tissues from patients with cystic fibrosis. J Clin Invest. 1999, 103: 1379-1389.PubMedPubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  24. Bannykh SI, Bannykh GI, Fish KN, Moyer BD, Riordan JR, Balch WE: Traffic pattern of cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator through the early exocytic pathway. Traffic. 2000, 1: 852-870. 10.1034/j.1600-0854.2000.011105.x.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  25. Glick MC, Kothari VA, Liu A, Stoykova LI, Scanlin TF: Activity of fucosyltransferases and altered glycosylation in cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells. Biochimie. 2001, 83:Google Scholar
  26. Allen BB, Balch WE: Protein sorting by directed maturation of Golgi compartments. Science. 1999, 285: 63-66. 10.1006/jmbi.1998.2301.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  27. Glick MC: Gene regulation of terminal glycosylation. In: Glycoproteins. Edited by Montreuil J, Vliegenthart JFG, Schachter H. New York: Elsevier Science,. 1995, :261-280.Google Scholar
  28. Sheppard DN, Ostedgaard LS, Winter MC, Welsh MJ: Mechanism of dysfunction of two nucleotide binding domain mutations in cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator that are associated with pancreatic sufficiency. EMBO J. 1995, 14: 876-883.PubMedPubMed CentralGoogle Scholar
  29. Cunningham SA, Frizzell RA, Morris AP: Vesicular targeting and the control of ion secretin in epithelial cells: Implications for cystic fibrosis. J Physiol. 1995, 482: 27S-30S.PubMedPubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  30. Morris AP, Cunningham SA, Benos DJ, Frizzell RA: Polarization-dependent apical membrane CFTR targeting underlies cAMP-stimulated Cl- secretion in epithelial cells. Am J Physiol. 1994, 266: C254-C268.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Prince LS, Workman J, Marchase RB: Rapid endocytosis of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator chloride channel. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1994, 91: 5192-5196.PubMedPubMed CentralView ArticleGoogle Scholar
  32. Lazatin JO, Glick MC, Scanlin TF: Fucosylation in cystic fibrosis airway epithelial cells. Glycosyl Dis. 1994, 1: 263-270.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
  33. Dell A, Morris HR: Glycoprotein structure determination by mass spectrometry. Science. 2001, 291: 2351-2356. 10.1126/science.1058890.PubMedView ArticleGoogle Scholar

Copyright

© BioMed Central Ltd 2001