K Akasaka Manya, H Manya, Y Sakurai, B. S Wojczyk, Y Saito, N Taniguchi, S Murayama and S. L Spitalnik
Glycobiology, 2010, 20(1), 99-106. DOI: 10.1093/glycob/cwp152
Alteration of glycoprotein glycans often changes various properties of the target glycoprotein and contributes to a wide variety of diseases. Here, we focused on the N-glycans of amyloid precursor protein whose cleaved fragment, β-amyloid, is thought to cause much of the pathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We previously determined the N-glycan structures of normal and mutant amyloid precursor proteins (the Swedish type and the London type). In comparison with normal amyloid precursor protein, mutant amyloid precursor proteins had higher contents of bisecting GlcNAc residues. Because N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase III (GnT-III) is the glycosyltransferase responsible for synthesizing a bisecting GlcNAc residue, the current report measured GnT-III mRNA expression levels in the brains of AD patients. Interestingly, GnT-III mRNA expression was increased in AD brains. Furthermore, β-amyloid treatment increased GnT-III mRNA expression in Neuro2a mouse neuroblastoma cells. We then examined the influence of bisecting GlcNAc on the production of β-amyloid. Both β-amyloid 40 and β-amyloid 42 were significantly decreased in GnT-III-transfected cells. When secretase activities were analyzed in GnT-III transfectant cells, -secretase activity was increased. Taken together, these results suggest that upregulation of GnT-III in AD brains may represent an adaptive response to protect them from additional β-amyloid production.