The KTR α1,2-mannosyltransferase gene family of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is responsible not only for outer-chain modifications of N-linked oligosaccharides but also for elongation of O-linked mannose residues. To identify genes involved in the elongation step of O-linked oligosaccharide chains in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, we characterized six genes, omh1 +-omh6+, that share significant sequence similarity to the S. cerevisiae KTR family. Six deletion strains were constructed, each carrying a single disrupted omh allele. All strains were viable, indicating that none of the omh genes was essential. Heterologous expression of a chitinase from S. cerevisiae in the omh mutants revealed that O-glycosylation of chitinase had decreased in omh1Δ cells, but not in the other mutants, indicating that the other omh genes do not appear to be required for O-glycan synthesis. Addition of the second α1,2-linked mannose residue was blocked in omh1Δ cells. An Omh1-GFP fusion protein was found to be localized in the Golgi apparatus. These results indicate that Omh1p plays a major role in extending α1,2-linked mannose in the O-glycan pathway in S. pombe.
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