Differential and cooperative polysialylation of the neural cell adhesion molecule by two polysialyltransferases, PST and STX

J Biol Chem. 1998 Oct 23;273(43):28524-32. doi: 10.1074/jbc.273.43.28524.


PST and STX are polysialyltransferases that form polysialic acid in the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), and these two polysialyltransferases often exist together in the same tissues. To determine the individual and combined roles of PST and STX in polysialic acid synthesis, in the present study we asked if PST and STX differ in the acceptor requirement and if PST and STX act together in polysialylation of NCAM. We first examined whether PST and STX differ in the requirement of sialic acid and core structures of N-glycans attached to NCAM. Polysialic acid was formed well on Lec4 and Lec13 cells, which are defective in N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V and GDP-fucose synthesis, respectively, demonstrating that a side chain elongating from GlcNAcbeta1-->6Manalpha1-->6R and alpha-1,6-linked fucose are not required. PST and STX were found to add polysialic acid on NCAM.Fc molecules sialylated by alpha-2,3- or alpha-2,6-linkage in vitro, but not on NCAM.Fc lacking either sialic acid. These results indicate that both PST and STX have relatively broad specificity on N-glycan core structures in NCAM and no remarkable difference exists between PST and STX for the requirement of core structures and sialic acid attached to the N-glycans of NCAM. We then, using various N-glycosylation site mutants of NCAM, discovered that PST strongly prefer the sixth N-glycosylation site, which is the closest to the transmembrane domain, over the fifth site. STX slightly prefer the sixth N-glycosylation site over the fifth N-glycosylation site. The results also demonstrated that polysialic acid synthesized by PST is larger than that synthesized by STX in vitro. Moreover, a mixture of PST and STX more efficiently synthesized polysialic acid on NCAM than PST or STX alone. These results suggest that polysialylation of NCAM is influenced by the difference between PST and STX in their preference for N-glycosylation sites on NCAM. The results also suggest that PST and STX form polysialylated NCAM in a synergistic manner.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cricetinae
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides / biosynthesis*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Sialic Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Sialyltransferases / genetics
  • Sialyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Polysaccharides
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sialic Acids
  • polysialic acid
  • CMP-N-acetylneuraminate-poly-alpha-2,8-sialosyl sialyltransferase
  • Sialyltransferases