Physiological and glycomic characterization of N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase-IVa and -IVb double deficient mice

Glycobiology. 2010 Jan;20(4):485-97. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwp200. Epub 2009 Dec 16.


N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferase-IV (GnT-IV) has two isoenzymes, GnT-IVa and GnT-IVb, which initiate the GlcNAcbeta1-4 branch synthesis on the Manalpha1-3 arm of the N-glycan core thereby increasing N-glycan branch complexity and conferring endogenous lectin binding epitopes. To elucidate the physiological significance of GnT-IV, we engineered and characterized GnT-IVb-deficient mice and further generated GnT-IVa/-IVb double deficient mice. In wild-type mice, GnT-IVa expression is restricted to gastrointestinal tissues, whereas GnT-IVb is broadly expressed among organs. GnT-IVb deficiency induced aberrant GnT-IVa expression corresponding to the GnT-IVb distribution pattern that might be attributed to increased Ets-1, which conceivably activates the Mgat4a promoter, and thereafter preserved apparent GnT-IV activity. The compensative GnT-IVa expression might contribute to amelioration of the GnT-IVb-deficient phenotype. GnT-IVb deficiency showed mild phenotypic alterations in hematopoietic cell populations and hemostasis. GnT-IVa/-IVb double deficiency completely abolished GnT-IV activity that resulted in the disappearance of the GlcNAcbeta1-4 branch on the Manalpha1-3 arm that was confirmed by MALDI-TOF MS and GC-MS linkage analyses. Comprehensive glycomic analyses revealed that the abundance of terminal moieties was preserved in GnT-IVa/-IVb double deficiency that was due to the elevated expression of glycosyltransferases regarding synthesis of terminal moieties. Thereby, this may maintain the expression of glycan ligands for endogenous lectins and prevent cellular dysfunctions. The fact that the phenotype of GnT-IVa/-IVb double deficiency largely overlapped that of GnT-IVa single deficiency can be attributed to the induced glycomic compensation. This is the first report that mammalian organs have highly organized glycomic compensation systems to preserve N-glycan branch complexity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glycomics*
  • Glycosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Lectins / genetics
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases / genetics*
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / genetics
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Isoenzymes
  • Lectins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases
  • alpha-1,3-mannosylglycoprotein beta-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase