Abstract: The glycoproteins of yeast contain a large outer chain on N-linked oligosaccharides; therefore, yeast is not suitable for producing therapeutic glycoproteins for human use. Using a deletion mutant strain of α1,6-mannosyltransferase (och1Δ), we previously produced humanized N-glycans in fission yeast; however, the Schizosaccharomyces pombe och1Δ cells displayed a growth delay even during vegetative growth, resulting in reduced productivity of heterologous proteins. To overcome this problem, here we performed a genome-wide screen for genes that would suppress the growth defect of temperature-sensitive och1Δ cells. Using a genomic library coupled with screening of 18,000 transformants, we identified two genes (pwp1+, SPBC1E8.05), both encoding GPI-anchored proteins, that increased the growth rate of och1Δ cells, lacking the outer chain. We further showed that a high copy number of the genes was needed to improve the growth rate. Mutational analysis of Pwp1p revealed that the GPI-anchored region of Pwp1p is important in attenuating the growth defect. Analysis of disruptants of pwp1+ and SPBC1E8.05 showed that neither gene was essential for cell viability; however, both mutants were sensitive β-glucanase, suggesting that Pwp1p and the protein encoded by SPBC1E8.05 non-enzymatically support β-glucan on the cell-surface of S. pombe. Collectively, our work not only sheds light on the functional relationships between GPI-anchored proteins and N-linked oligosaccharides of glycoproteins in S. pombe, but also supports the application of S. pombe to the production of human glycoprotein. Key points: • We screened for genes that suppress the growth defect of fission yeast och1Δ cells. • Appropriate expression of GPI-anchored proteins alleviates the growth delay of och1Δ cells. • The GPI-anchor domain of Pwp1p is important for suppressing the growth defect of och1Δ cells.
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