In contrast to mammals and vascular plants, microalgae show a high diversity in the N-glycan structures of complex N-glycoproteins. Although homologues for β1,2-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I (GnTI), a key enzyme in the formation of complex N-glycans, have been identified in several algal species, GnTI-dependent N-glycans have not been detected so far. We have performed an N-glycoproteomic analysis of the hydrocarbon oils accumulating green microalgae Botryococcus braunii. Thereby, the analysis of intact N-glycopeptides allowed the determination of N-glycan compositions. Furthermore, insights into the role of N-glycosylation in B. braunii were gained from functional annotation of the identified N-glycoproteins. In total, 517 unique N-glycosylated peptides have been identified, including intact N-glycopeptides that harbored N-acetylhexosamine (HexNAc) at the nonreducing end. Surprisingly, these GnTI-dependent N-glycans were also found to be modified with (di)methylated hexose. The identification of GnTI-dependent N-glycans in combination with N-glycan methylation in B. braunii revealed an uncommon type of N-glycan processing in this microalgae.
Keywords: Botryococcus braunii; N-glycosylation; gene ontology annotation; mass spectrometry; post-translational modification.
© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.