Evolution of protein N-glycosylation process in Golgi apparatus which shapes diversity of protein N-glycan structures in plants, animals and fungi

Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 11:7:40301. doi: 10.1038/srep40301.


Protein N-glycosylation (PNG) is crucial for protein folding and enzymatic activities, and has remarkable diversity among eukaryotic species. Little is known of how unique PNG mechanisms arose and evolved in eukaryotes. Here we demonstrate a picture of onset and evolution of PNG components in Golgi apparatus that shaped diversity of eukaryotic protein N-glycan structures, with an emphasis on roles that domain emergence and combination played on PNG evolution. 23 domains were identified from 24 known PNG genes, most of which could be classified into a single clan, indicating a single evolutionary source for the majority of the genes. From 153 species, 4491 sequences containing the domains were retrieved, based on which we analyzed distribution of domains among eukaryotic species. Two domains in GnTV are restricted to specific eukaryotic domains, while 10 domains distribute not only in species where certain unique PNG reactions occur and thus genes harboring these domains are supoosed to be present, but in other ehkaryotic lineages. Notably, two domains harbored by β-1,3 galactosyltransferase, an essential enzyme in forming plant-specific Lea structure, were present in separated genes in fungi and animals, suggesting its emergence as a result of domain shuffling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Glycosylation
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism*
  • Mannose / metabolism
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Protein Domains
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism*


  • Polysaccharides
  • Proteins
  • Mannose