Polysialyltransferase-1 (PST; ST8Sia IV) is one of the alpha2, 8-polysialyltransferases responsible for the polysialylation of the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM). The presence of polysialic acid on NCAM has been shown to modulate cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. We previously reported that the PST enzyme itself is modified by alpha2,8-linked polysialic acid chains in vivo. To understand the role of autopolysialylation in PST enzymatic activity, we employed a mutagenesis approach. We found that PST is modified by five Asn-linked oligosaccharides and that the vast majority of the polysialic acid is found on the oligosaccharide modifying Asn-74. In addition, the presence of the oligosaccharide on Asn-119 appeared to be required for folding of PST into an active enzyme. Co-expression of the PST Asn mutants with NCAM demonstrated that autopolysialylation is not required for PST polysialyltransferase activity. Notably, catalytically active, non-autopolysialylated PST does not polysialylate any endogenous COS-1 cell proteins, highlighting the protein specificity of polysialylation. Immunoblot analyses of NCAM polysialylation by polysialylated and non-autopolysialylated PST suggests that the NCAM is polysialylated to a higher degree by autopolysialylated PST. We conclude that autopolysialylation of PST is not required for, but does enhance, NCAM polysialylation.