The N- and O-linked oligosaccharides from fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe not only contain large amounts of D-mannose (Man) but also contain large amounts of D-galactose (Gal). Although the galactomannans of S. pombe are mainly composed of α1,2- or α1,3-linked Gals, some of the terminal α1,2-linked Gals are found to be linked to pyruvylated β1,3-linked galactose (PvGal). We have determined the structural characteristics of the N-glycans and O-glycans in three Schizosaccharomyces species (S. japonicus, S. octosporus, and S. cryophilus) using lectin blot, 1H NMR spectroscopy, and size-fractionation high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and found that the galactosylation of oligosaccharides was a common feature in fission yeasts. In addition, each of the terminal Galα1,2-, Galβ1,3- and non-substituted Man residues exhibited distinct characteristics. A BLAST search of gene databases in Schizosaccharomyces identified genes homologous to pvg1 encoding pyruvyltransferase of S. pombe. These genes, when expressed in an S. pombe pvg1Δ strains, led to the pyruvylation of non-reducing terminal β-linked Gal, suggesting the biosynthetic pathway of PvGal-containing oligosaccharides is highly conserved in fission yeasts.
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