Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology


Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

First Thesis Advisor

William R. Kobertz, PhD


Asparagine, Consensus Sequence, Glycosylation, Kinetics, Membrane Proteins, Voltage-Gated Potassium Channels, RNA, Small Interfering


Dissertations, UMMS; Asparagine; Consensus Sequence; Glycosylation; Kinetics; Membrane Proteins; Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated; RNA, Small Interfering


Asparagine (N)-linked glycosylation occurs on 90% of membrane and secretory proteins and drives folding and trafficking along the secretory pathway. The N-glycan can be attached to an N-X-T/S-Y (X,Y ≠ P) consensus site by one of two oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) STT3 enzymatic isoforms either during protein translation (co-translational) or after protein translation has completed (post-translational). While co-translational N-glycosylation is both rapid and efficient, post-translational N-glycosylation occurs on a much slower time scale and, due to competition with protein degradation and forward trafficking, could be detrimental to the success of a peptide heavily reliant on post-translational N-glycosylation. In evidence, mutations in K+ channel subunits that shift N-glycosylation kinetics have been directly linked to cardiac arrhythmias. My thesis work focuses on identifying primary sequence factors that affect the rate of N-glycosylation.

To identify the molecular determinants that dictate whether a consensus site acquires its initial N-glycan during or after protein synthesis, I used short (~ 100-170 aa) type I transmembrane peptides from the KCNE family (E1-E5) of K+ channel regulatory subunits. The lifetime of these small membrane proteins in the ER translocon is short, which places a significant time constraint on the co-translational N-glycosylation machinery and increases the resolution between co- and post-translational events. Using rapid metabolic pulse-chase experiments described in Chapter II, I identified several molecular determinants among native consensus sites in the KCNE family that favor co-translational N-glycosylation: threonine containing-consensus sites (NXT), multiple N-terminal consensus sites, and long C-termini. The kinetics could also be shifted towards post-translational N-glycosylation by converting to a serine containing-consensus site (NXS), reducing the number of consensus sites in the peptide, and shortening the C-termini.

In Chapter III, I utilized an E2 scaffold peptide to examine the N-glycosylation kinetics of the middle X residue in an NXS consensus site. I found that large hydrophobic and negatively charged residues hinder co-translational N-glycosylation, while polar, small hydrophobic, and positively charged residues had the highest N-glycosylation efficiencies. Poorly N-glycosylated NXS consensus sites with large hydrophobic and negatively charged X residues had a significantly improved co-translational N-glycosylation efficiency upon conversion to NXT sites.

Also in Chapter III, I adapted a siRNA knockdown strategy to definitively identify the OST STT3 isoforms that perform co- and post-translational N-glycosylation for type I transmembrane substrates. I found that the STT3A isoform predominantly performs co-translational N-glycosylation while the STT3B isoform predominantly performs post-translational N-glycosylation, in agreement with the roles of these enzymatic subunits on topologically different substrates.

Taken together, these findings further the ability to predict the success of a consensus site by primary sequence alone and will be helpful for the identification and characterization of N-glycosylation deficiency diseases.



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