Hydroxylysine glycosylations are post-translational modifications (PTMs) essential for the maturation and homeostasis of fibrillar and non-fibrillar collagen molecules. The multifunctional collagen lysyl hydroxylase 3 (LH3/PLOD3) and the collagen galactosyltransferase GLT25D1 are the human enzymes that have been identified as being responsible for the glycosylation of collagen lysines, although a precise description of the contribution of each enzyme to these essential PTMs has not yet been provided in the literature. LH3/PLOD3 is thought to be capable of performing two chemically distinct collagen glycosyltransferase reactions using the same catalytic site: an inverting beta-1,O-galactosylation of hydroxylysines (Gal-T) and a retaining alpha-1,2-glucosylation of galactosyl hydroxylysines (Glc-T). In this work, we have combined indirect luminescence-based assays with direct mass spectrometry-based assays and molecular structure studies to demonstrate that LH3/PLOD3 only has Glc-T activity and that GLT25D1 only has Gal-T activity. Structure-guided mutagenesis confirmed that the Glc-T activity is defined by key residues in the first-shell environment of the glycosyltransferase catalytic site as well as by long-range contributions from residues within the same glycosyltransferase (GT) domain. By solving the molecular structures and characterizing the interactions and solving the molecular structures of human LH3/PLOD3 in complex with different UDP-sugar analogs, we show how these studies could provide insights for LH3/PLOD3 glycosyltransferase inhibitor development. Collectively, our data provide new tools for the direct investigation of collagen hydroxylysine PTMs and a comprehensive overview of the complex network of shapes, charges, and interactions that enable LH3/PLOD3 glycosyltransferase activities, expanding the molecular framework and facilitating an improved understanding and manipulation of glycosyltransferase functions in biomedical applications.
Keywords: collagen biosynthesis; collagen glycosylations; extracellular matrix; glycosyltransferase; lysyl hydroxylase; post-translational modifications.