A putative polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase/Williams-Beuren syndrome chromosome region 17 (WBSCR17) regulates lamellipodium formation and macropinocytosis

J Biol Chem. 2012 Sep 14;287(38):32222-35. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.370932. Epub 2012 Jul 11.


We previously identified a novel polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase (GalNAc-T) gene, which is designated Williams-Beuren syndrome chromosome region 17 (WBSCR17) because it is located in the chromosomal flanking region of the Williams-Beuren syndrome deletion. Recent genome-scale analysis of HEK293T cells treated with a high concentration of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) demonstrated that WBSCR17 was one of the up-regulated genes possibly involved in endocytosis (Lau, K. S., Khan, S., and Dennis, J. W. (2008) Genome-scale identification of UDP-GlcNAc-dependent pathways. Proteomics 8, 3294-3302). To assess its roles, we first expressed recombinant WBSCR17 in COS7 cells and demonstrated that it was N-glycosylated and localized mainly in the Golgi apparatus, as is the case for the other GalNAc-Ts. Assay of recombinant WBSCR17 expressed in insect cells showed very low activity toward typical mucin peptide substrates. We then suppressed the expression of endogenous WBSCR17 in HEK293T cells using siRNAs and observed phenotypic changes of the knockdown cells with reduced lamellipodium formation, altered O-glycan profiles, and unusual accumulation of glycoconjugates in the late endosomes/lysosomes. Analyses of endocytic pathways revealed that macropinocytosis, but neither clathrin- nor caveolin-dependent endocytosis, was elevated in the knockdown cells. This was further supported by the findings that the overexpression of recombinant WBSCR17 stimulated lamellipodium formation, altered O-glycosylation, and inhibited macropinocytosis. WBSCR17 therefore plays important roles in lamellipodium formation and the regulation of macropinocytosis as well as lysosomes. Our study suggests that a subset of O-glycosylation produced by WBSCR17 controls dynamic membrane trafficking, probably between the cell surface and the late endosomes through macropinocytosis, in response to the nutrient concentration as exemplified by environmental GlcNAc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Endocytosis
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycosylation
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases / chemistry*
  • N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases / genetics
  • N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases / metabolism
  • Pinocytosis
  • Polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase
  • Pseudopodia / metabolism*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Up-Regulation


  • EIF4H protein, human
  • Eukaryotic Initiation Factors
  • Glycoproteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • N-Acetylgalactosaminyltransferases