AglH, a predicted UDP-GlcNAc-1-phosphate:dolichyl phosphate GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferase, is initiating the protein N-glycosylation pathway in the thermoacidophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. AglH successfully replaced the endogenous GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferase activity of Alg7 in a conditional lethal Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain, in which the first step of the eukaryal protein N-glycosylation process was repressed. This study is one of the few examples of cross-domain complementation demonstrating a conserved polyprenyl phosphate transferase reaction within the eukaryal and archaeal domain like it was demonstrated for Methanococcus voltae (Shams-Eldin et al. 2008). The topology prediction and the alignment of the AglH membrane protein with GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferases from the three domains of life show significant conservation of amino acids within the different proposed cytoplasmic loops. Alanine mutations of selected conserved amino acids in the putative cytoplasmic loops II (D100), IV (F220) and V (F264) demonstrated the importance of these amino acids for cross-domain AlgH activity in in vitro complementation assays in S. cerevisiae. Furthermore, antibiotic treatment interfering directly with the activity of dolichyl phosphate GlcNAc-1-phosphotransferases confirmed the essentiality of N-glycosylation for cell survival.
Keywords: AglH; Alg7; Crenarchaea; Dolichol phosphate; Glycosylation; N-Glycosylation; Sulfolobus.