Research Articles

Glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol moiety that anchors Trypanosoma brucei variant surface glycoprotein to the membrane

Science  12 Feb 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4841, pp. 753-759
DOI: 10.1126/science.3340856


Two forms of protein-membrane anchor have been described for the externally disposed glycoproteins of eukaryotic plasma membranes; namely, the hydrophobic transmembrane polypeptide and the complex glycosylphosphatidylinositol (G-PI) moiety. The chemical structures of the major species of G-PI anchors found on a single variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) of the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma brucei were determined by a combination of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, chemical modification, and exoglycosidase digestions. The G-PI anchor was found to be heterogeneous with respect to monosaccharide sequence, and several novel glycosidic linkages were present. The results are pertinent to the mechanism of the biosynthesis of G-PI anchors.

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