The Tn antigen-structural simplicity and biological complexity.
ABSTRACT: Glycoproteins in animal cells contain a variety of glycan structures that are added co- and/or posttranslationally to proteins. Of over 20 different types of sugar-amino acid linkages known, the two major types are N-glycans (Asn-linked) and O-glycans (Ser/Thr-linked). An abnormal mucin-type O-glycan whose expression is associated with cancer and several human disorders is the Tn antigen. It has a relatively simple structure composed of N-acetyl-D-galactosamine with a glycosidic ??linkage to serine/threonine residues in glycoproteins (GalNAc?1-O-Ser/Thr), and was one of the first glycoconjugates to be chemically synthesized. The Tn antigen is normally modified by a specific galactosyltransferase (T-synthase) in the Golgi apparatus of cells. Expression of active T-synthase is uniquely dependent on the molecular chaperone Cosmc, which is encoded by a gene on the X chromosome. Expression of the Tn antigen can arise as a consequence of mutations in the genes for T-synthase or Cosmc, or genes affecting other steps of O-glycosylation pathways. Because of the association of the Tn antigen with disease, there is much interest in the development of Tn-based vaccines and other therapeutic approaches based on Tn expression.
Project description:Cosmc is a molecular chaperone thought to be required for expression of active T-synthase, the only enzyme that galactosylates the Tn antigen (GalNAcalpha1-Ser/Thr-R) to form core 1 Galbeta1-3GalNAcalpha1-Ser/Thr (T antigen) during mucin type O-glycan biosynthesis. Here we show that ablation of the X-linked Cosmc gene in mice causes embryonic lethality and Tn antigen expression. Loss of Cosmc is associated with loss of T-synthase but not other enzymes required for glycoprotein biosynthesis, demonstrating that Cosmc is specific in vivo for the T-synthase. We generated genetically mosaic mice with a targeted Cosmc deletion and survivors exhibited abnormalities correlated with Tn antigen expression that are related to several human diseases.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Tn neoantigen (GalNAcα1-O-Ser/Thr) is an O-glycan expressed in various types of human cancers. Studies in several Tn-expressing cancer cell lines and pancreatic tumors have identified loss of Cosmc expression caused by either mutations or promoter hypermethylation. In this study, we explored the mechanism(s) for Tn expression in human colorectal cancers (CRC). METHODS:Tn-expressing cell populations were isolated from CRC cell lines by Fluorescence-associated cell sorting (FACS). The expression of the Tn and sialylated Tn (STn) antigens, Cosmc, T-synthase, and mucins was characterized in paired specimens with CRC and in CRC cell lines by immunostaining, western blot, and qPCR. RESULTS:Using well-defined monoclonal antibodies, we confirmed prevalent Tn/STn expression in CRC samples. However, a majority of these tumors had elevated T-synthase activity and expression of both Cosmc and T-synthase proteins. Meanwhile, Tn antigen expression was not caused by mucin overproduction. In addition, we found that Tn-expressing CRC cell lines had either loss-of-function mutations in Cosmc or reversible Tn antigen expression, which was not caused by the deficiency of T-synthase activity. CONCLUSIONS:Our results demonstrate multiple mechanisms for Tn expression in CRCs.
Project description:Aberrant glycosylation occurs in the majority of human cancers and changes in mucin-type O-glycosylation are key events that play a role in the induction of invasion and metastases. These changes generate novel cancer-specific glyco-antigens that can interact with cells of the immune system through carbohydrate binding lectins. Two glyco-epitopes that are found expressed by many carcinomas are Tn (GalNAc-Ser/Thr) and STn (NeuAc?2,6GalNAc-Ser/Thr). These glycans can be carried on many mucin-type glycoproteins including MUC1. We show that the majority of breast cancers carry Tn within the same cell and in close proximity to extended glycan T (Gal?1,3GalNAc) the addition of Gal to the GalNAc being catalysed by the T synthase. The presence of active T synthase suggests that loss of the private chaperone for T synthase, COSMC, does not explain the expression of Tn and STn in breast cancer cells. We show that MUC1 carrying both Tn or STn can bind to the C-type lectin MGL and using atomic force microscopy show that they bind to MGL with a similar dead adhesion force. Tumour associated STn is associated with poor prognosis and resistance to chemotherapy in breast carcinomas, inhibition of DC maturation, DC apoptosis and inhibition of NK activity. As engagement of MGL in the absence of TLR triggering may lead to anergy, the binding of MUC1-STn to MGL may be in part responsible for some of the characteristics of STn expressing tumours.
Project description:Regulatory pathways for protein glycosylation are poorly understood, but expression of branchpoint enzymes is critical. A key branchpoint enzyme is the T-synthase, which directs synthesis of the common core 1 O-glycan structure (T-antigen), the precursor structure for most mucin-type O-glycans in a wide variety of glycoproteins. Formation of active T-synthase, which resides in the Golgi apparatus, requires a unique molecular chaperone, Cosmc, encoded on Xq24. Cosmc is the only molecular chaperone known to be lost through somatic acquired mutations in cells. We show that Cosmc is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized adenosine triphosphate binding chaperone that binds directly to human T-synthase. Cosmc prevents the aggregation and ubiquitin-mediated degradation of the T-synthase. These results demonstrate that Cosmc is a molecular chaperone in the ER required for this branchpoint glycosyltransferase function and show that expression of the disease-related Tn antigen can result from deregulation or loss of Cosmc function.
Project description:Membrane bound mucins are up-regulated and aberrantly glycosylated during malignant transformation in many cancer cells. This results in a negatively charged glycoprotein coat which may protect cancer cells from immune surveillance. However, only limited data have so far demonstrated the critical steps in glycan elongation that make aberrantly glycosylated mucins affect the interaction between cancer cells and cytotoxic effector cells of the immune system. Tn (GalNAc-Ser/Thr), STn (NeuAc?2-6GalNAc-Ser/Thr), T (Gal?1-3GalNAc-Ser/Thr), and ST (NeuAc?2-6Gal?1-3GalNAc-Ser/Thr) antigens are recognized as cancer associated truncated glycans, and are expressed in many adenocarcinomas, e.g. breast- and pancreatic cancer cells. To investigate the role of the cancer associated glycan truncations in immune-mediated killing we created glyco-engineered breast- and pancreatic cancer cells expressing only the shortest possible mucin-like glycans (Tn and STn). Glyco-engineering was performed by zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) knockout (KO) of the Core 1 enzyme chaperone COSMC, thereby preventing glycan elongation beyond the initial GalNAc residue in O-linked glycans. We find that COSMC KO in the breast and pancreatic cancer cell lines T47D and Capan-1 increases sensitivity to both NK cell mediated antibody-dependent cellular-cytotoxicity (ADCC) and cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated killing. In addition, we investigated the association between total cell surface expression of MUC1/MUC16 and NK or CTL mediated killing, and observed an inverse correlation between MUC16/MUC1 expression and the sensitivity to ADCC and CTL-mediated killing. Together, these data suggest that up-regulation of membrane bound mucins protects cells from immune mediated killing, and that particular glycosylation steps, as demonstrated for glycan elongation beyond Tn and STn, can be important for fine tuning of the immune escape mechanisms in cancer cells.
Project description:In many different human disorders, the cellular glycome is altered. An interesting but poorly understood alteration occurs in the mucin-type O-glycome, in which there is aberrant expression of the truncated O-glycans Tn (GalNAc?1-Ser/Thr) and its sialylated version sialyl-Tn (STn) (Neu5Ac?2,6GalNAc?1-Ser/Thr). Both Tn and STn are tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens and tumor biomarkers, since they are not expressed normally and appear early in tumorigenesis. Moreover, their expression is strongly associated with poor prognosis and tumor metastasis. The Tn and STn antigens are also expressed in other human diseases and disorders, such as Tn syndrome and IgA nephropathy. The major pathological mechanism for expression of the Tn and STn antigens is compromised T-synthase activity, resulting from alteration of the X-linked gene that encodes for Cosmc, a molecular chaperone specifically required for the correct folding of T-synthase to form active enzyme. This review will summarize our current understanding of the Tn and STn antigens in terms of their biochemistry and role in pathology.
Project description:Human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most aggressive and lethal malignancies in the world and despite great efforts in research types of treatment remain limited. A frequently detected alteration in PDACs is a truncated O-linked N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) glycosylation with expression of the Tn antigen. Changes in O-glycosylation affect posttranslationally modified O-GalNAc proteins resulting in profound cellular alterations. Tn antigen is a tumor associated glycan detected in 75-90 % of PDACs and up to 67 % in its precursor lesions. Since the role of Tn antigen expression in PDAC is insufficiently understood we analyzed the impact of COSMC mediated Tn antigen expression in two human PDAC cell lines on cellular oncogenic properties.Forced expression of Tn antigen on O-glycosylated proteins in pancreatic cancer cells was induced by lentiviral-mediated knockdown of the COSMC chaperone, which prevented O-glycan elongation beyond the initial GalNAc?1- residue on O-linked glycoproteins. Altered O-GalNAc glycosylation was analyzed in human pancreatic cancer cell lines Panc-1 and L3.6pl using Western and Far-Western blot as well as immunocytochemical techniques. To assess the biological implications of COSMC function on oncogenic properties, cell viability assays, scratch assays combined with live cell imaging, migration and apoptosis assays were performed. Lectin based glycoprotein enrichment with subsequent mass spectrometric analysis identified new cancer O-GalNAc modified proteins. Expression of Tn antigen bearing Nucleolin in patient derived PDAC tumor specimens was evaluated and correlated with clinicopathological data.Tn antigen expression was induced on various O-GalNAc glycoproteins in COSMC deficient cell lines compared to the control. Proliferation was reduced (p?<?0.001) in COSMC knockdown cells, whereas migration was increased (p?<?0.001) and apoptosis was decreased (p?=?0.03), highlighting the importance of Tn antigen expression on metastatic and anti-apoptotic behavior of PDAC derived cells. Nucleolin was identified as O-GalNAc modified protein in COSMC deficient PDAC cell lines. Interestingly, immunohistochemical staining and co-localization studies of patient derived PDACs revealed poor survival for patients with strong co-localization of Tn antigen and Nucleolin (p?=?0.037).This study substantiates the influence of altered O-glycan (Tn/STn) expression on oncogenic properties in pancreatic cancer and identifies O-GalNAc modified Nucleolin as novel prognostic marker.
Project description:Cosmc is ubiquitously expressed and acts as a specific molecular chaperone assisting the folding and stability of core 1 synthase. Thus, it plays a crucial role in the biosynthesis of O-linked glycosylation of proteins. Here, we show that ablation of Cosmc in the exocrine pancreas of mice causes expression of truncated O-glycans (Tn antigen), resulting in exocrine pancreatic insufficiency with decreased activities of digestive enzymes and diabetes. To understand the molecular causes of the pleiotropic phenotype, we used Vicia villosa agglutinin to enrich Tn antigen-modified proteins from Cosmc-KO pancreatic lysates and performed a proteomic analysis. Interestingly, a variety of proteins were identified, of which bile salt-activated lipase (also denoted carboxyl-ester lipase, Cel) was the most abundant. In humans, frameshift mutations in CEL cause maturity-onset diabetes of the young type 8 (MODY8), a monogenic syndrome of diabetes and pancreatic exocrine dysfunction. Here, we provide data suggesting that differentially O-glycosylated Cel could negatively affect beta cell function. Taken together, our findings demonstrate the importance of correct O-glycan formation for normal exocrine and endocrine pancreatic function, implying that aberrant O-glycans might be relevant for pathogenic mechanisms of the pancreas.
Project description:We used replication-dependent retroviral vectors to identify cell surface antigens involved in the cell-to-cell transmission of human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). We generated monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against Jurkat T cells and selected several IgM MAbs that strongly inhibited HTLV-1 but not human immune deficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) cell-to-cell infection. These MAbs recognized the so-called Tn antigen (GalNAc?1-O-Ser/Thr) that arises on Jurkat cells from a mutation in the T-synthase-specific chaperone Cosmc and the consequent loss of O-glycan elongation. Anti-Tn MAbs precipitated two major O-glycan carrier proteins, CD43 and CD45, and caused a strong aggregation of Jurkat cells. The restoration of O-glycosylation in Jurkat cells by stably transducing the wild-type Cosmc gene resulted in a 3- to 4-fold increase in the level of surface expression of CD43 and enhanced HTLV-1 transmission 10-fold in comparison to that of parental cells. The short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown of CD43 or CD45 expression in Jurkat-Cosmc, HBP-ALL, and CEM T cells decreased HTLV-1 infection severalfold. The knockdown of CD45 in Jurkat cells severely reduced both HTLV-1 and HIV-1 infections, but Cosmc coexpression partially rescued infection. HTLV-1 proteins, which assembled in small patches on Jurkat cells, formed large clusters on the surface of Jurkat-Cosmc cells. These data indicate that large aggregates of HTLV-1 assemblies are more infectious than multiple clustered virions. We suggest that heavily O-glycosylated CD43 and CD45 molecules render cells less adhesive, prevent inappropriate cell-cell contacts, and favor the assembly of HTLV-1 particles into large, highly infectious structures on the surface of T cells.
Project description:Human core 1 beta3-galactosyltransferase (C1beta3Gal-T) generates the core 1 O-glycan Galbeta1-3GalNAcalpha1-SerThr (T antigen), which is a precursor for many extended O-glycans in animal glycoproteins. We report here that C1beta3Gal-T activity requires expression of a molecular chaperone designated Cosmc (core 1 beta3-Gal-T-specific molecular chaperone). The human Cosmc gene is X-linked (Xq23), and its cDNA predicts a 318-aa transmembrane protein ( approximately 36.4 kDa) with type II membrane topology. The human lymphoblastoid T cell line Jurkat, which lacks C1beta3Gal-T activity and expresses the Tn antigen GalNAcalpha1-SerThr, contains a normal gene and mRNA encoding C1beta3Gal-T, but contains a mutated Cosmc with a deletion introducing a premature stop codon. Expression of Cosmc cDNA in Jurkat cells restored C1beta3Gal-T activity and T antigen expression. Without Cosmc, the C1beta3Gal-T is targeted to proteasomes. Expression of active C1beta3Gal-T in Hi-5 insect cells requires coexpression of Cosmc. Overexpression of active C1beta3Gal-T in mammalian cell lines also requires coexpression of Cosmc, indicating that endogenous Cosmc may be limiting. A small portion of C1beta3Gal-T copurifies with Cosmc from cell extracts, demonstrating physical association of the proteins. These results indicate that Cosmc acts as a specific molecular chaperone in assisting the foldingstability of C1beta3Gal-T. The identification of Cosmc, a uniquely specific molecular chaperone required for a glycosyltransferase expression in mammalian cells, may shed light on the molecular basis of acquired human diseases involving altered O-glycosylation, such as IgA nephropathy, Tn syndrome, Henoch-Schönlein purpura, and malignant transformation, all of which are associated with a deficiency of C1beta3Gal-T activity.