Glycosyltransferases and oligosaccharyltransferases in Archaea: putative components of the N-glycosylation pathway in the third domain of life

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Nov;300(1):122-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01775.x. Epub 2009 Aug 28.


The ability of Eukarya, Bacteria and Archaea to perform N-glycosylation underlies the importance and possible antiquity of this post-translational protein modification. However, in contrast to the relatively well-studied eukaryal and bacterial pathways, the archaeal N-glycosylation process is less understood. To remedy this disparity, the following study has examined 56 available archaeal genomes with the aim of identifying glycosyltransferases and oligosaccharyltransferases, including those putatively catalyzing this post-translational processing event. This analysis reveals that while oligosaccharyltransferases, central components of the N-glycosylation pathway, are found across the range of archaeal phenotypes, the N-glycosylation machinery of hyperthermophilic Archaea may well rely on fewer components than do the parallel systems of nonhyperthermophilic Archaea. Moreover, genes encoding predicted glycosyltransferases of hyperthermophilic Archaea tend to be far more scattered within the genome than is the case with nonhyperthermophilic species, where putative glycosyltransferase genes are often clustered around identified oligosaccharyltransferase-encoding sequences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / classification
  • Archaea / enzymology*
  • Archaea / genetics
  • Archaeal Proteins / genetics
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Archaeal
  • Glycosylation
  • Glycosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Hexosyltransferases / genetics
  • Hexosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • Hexosyltransferases
  • dolichyl-diphosphooligosaccharide - protein glycotransferase