Overexpression of Galnt3 in Chondrocytes Resulted in Dwarfism Due to the Increase of Mucin Type O-glycans but Reduction of Glycosaminoglycans [Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices]

August 8th, 2014 by Yoshida, C. A., Kawane, T., Moriishi, T., Purushothaman, A., Miyazaki, T., Komori, H., Mori, M., Qin, X., Hashimoto, A., Sugahara, K., Yamana, K., Takada, K., Komori, T.

Galnt3, UDP-N-acetyl-alpha-D-galactosamine:polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase 3, transfers N-acetyl-D-galactosamine to serine and threonine residues, initiating mucin type O-glycosylation of proteins. We searched the target genes of Runx2, which is an essential transcription factor for chondrocyte maturation, in chondrocytes, and found that Galnt3 expression was upregulated by Runx2 and severely reduced in Runx2−/− cartilaginous skeletons. To investigate the function of Galnt3 in chondrocytes, we generated Galnt3−/− mice and chondrocyte-specific Galnt3 transgenic mice under the control of Col2a1 promoter-enhancer. Galnt3−/− mice showed a delay in endochondral ossification and shortened limbs at embryonic day 16.5, suggesting that Galnt3 is involved in chondrocyte maturation. Galnt3 transgenic mice presented dwarfism, the chondrocyte maturation was retarded, cell cycle in chondrocytes was accelerated, premature chondrocyte apoptosis occurred, and the growth plates were disorganized. The binding of Vicia villosa agglutinin, which recognizes the Tn antigen (GalNAc-O-Ser/Thr), was drastically increased in chondrocytes and Acan was highly enriched with Tn antigen. However, safranin O staining, which recognizes glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and Acan were severely reduced. Chondroitin sulfate was reduced in amount but the elongation of chondroitin sulfate chains had not been severely disturbed in the isolated GAGs. These findings indicate that overexpression of Galnt3 in chondrocytes caused dwarfism due to the increase of mucin type-O glycans but the reduction of GAGs, probably through competition with xylosyltransferases, which initiate GAG chains by attaching O-linked xylose to serine residues, suggesting a negative effect of Galnt family proteins on Acan deposition in addition to the positive effect of Galnt3 on chondrocyte maturation.
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