C-terminal amino acids of Helicobacter pylori alpha1,3/4 fucosyltransferases determine type I and type II transfer

J Biol Chem. 2003 Jun 13;278(24):21893-900. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M301704200. Epub 2003 Apr 3.


The alpha1,3/4 fucosyltransferase (FucT) enzyme from Helicobacter pylori catalyzes fucose transfer from donor GDP-beta-l-fucose to the GlcNAc group of two series of acceptor substrates in H. pylori lipopolysaccharide: betaGal1,3betaGlcNAc (Type I) or betaGal1,4betaGlcNAc (Type II). Fucose is added either in alpha1,3 linkage of Type II acceptor to produce Lewis X or in alpha1,4 linkage of Type I acceptor to produce Lewis A, respectively. H. pylori FucTs from different strains have distinct Type I or Type II substrate specificities. FucT in H. pylori strain NCTC11639 has an exclusive alpha1,3 activity because it recognizes only Type II substrates, whereas FucT in H. pylori strain UA948 can utilize both Type II and Type I acceptors; thus it has both alpha1,3 and alpha1,4 activity, respectively. To identify elements conferring substrate specificity, 12 chimeric FucTs were constructed by domain swapping between 11639FucT and UA948FucT and characterized for their ability to transfer fucose to Type I and Type II acceptors. Our results indicate that the C-terminal region of H. pylori FucTs controls Type I and Type II acceptor specificity. In particular, the highly divergent C-terminal portion, seven amino acids DNPFIFC at positions 347-353 in 11639FucT, and the corresponding 10 amino acids CNDAHYSALH at positions 345-354 in UA948FucT, controls the Type I and Type II acceptor recognition. This is the opposite of mammalian FucTs where acceptor preference is determined primarily by the N-terminal residues in the hypervariable stem domain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Fucosyltransferases / chemistry*
  • Golgi Apparatus
  • Helicobacter pylori / enzymology*
  • Immunoblotting
  • Kinetics
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Fucosyltransferases
  • galactoside 3-fucosyltransferase