GPI-anchor and GPI-anchored protein expression in PMM2-CDG patients
The glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor, potentially capable of generating a number of second messengers, such as diacylglycerol, phosphatidic acid, and inositol phosphate glycan, has been postulated to be involved in signal transduction in various cell types, including T-cells. We have identified a panel of T-cell hybridoma mutants that are defective at various steps of GPI anchor biosynthesis. Since they were derived from a functional T-T hybridoma, we were able to determine the precise role of the GPI anchor in T-cell activation. Two mutants were chosen for this analysis. The first mutant is defective at the first step of GPI anchor biosynthesis, i.e. in the transfer of N-acetylglucosamine to a phosphatidylinositol acceptor. Thus, it cannot form any GPI precursors or GPI-like compounds. Interestingly, this mutant can be activated by antigen, superantigen, and concanavalin A in a manner comparable to the wild-type hybridoma. These data strongly suggest that the GPI anchor, its precursor, or its potential cleavage product, inositol phosphate glycan, is not required for the early phase of T-cell activation. The second mutant is able to synthesize the first two GPI precursors, but is not able to add mannose residues to them due to a deficiency in dolichol-phosphate-mannose (Dol-P-Man) biosynthesis. Unexpectedly, all of the Dol-P-Man mutants are defective in activation by antigen, suprantigen, and concanavalin A despite normal T-cell receptor expression. Here, we show that the activation defect was due to a pleiotropic glycosylation abnormality because Dol-P-Man is required for both GPI anchor and N-linked oligosaccharide biosynthesis. When the yeast Dol-P-Man synthase gene was stably transfected into the mutants, full expression of surface GPI-anchored proteins was restored. However, N-linked glycosylation was either partially or completely corrected in different transfectants. Reconstitution of activation defects correlates well with the status of N-linked glycosylation, but not with the expression of GPI-anchored proteins. These results thus reveal an unexpected role of N-linked glycosylation in T-cell activation.