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Vesicular and non-vesicular transport feed distinct glycosylation pathways in the Golgi



Newly synthesized proteins and lipids are transported across the Golgi complex via different mechanisms whose respective roles are not completely clear. We previously identified a non-vesicular intra-Golgi transport pathway for glucosylceramide (GlcCer)—the common precursor of the different series of glycosphingolipids—that is operated by the cytosolic GlcCer-transfer protein FAPP2 (also known as PLEKHA8) (ref. 1). However, the molecular determinants of the FAPP2-mediated transfer of GlcCer from the cis-Golgi to the trans-Golgi network, as well as the physiological relevance of maintaining two parallel transport pathways of GlcCer—vesicular and non-vesicular—through the Golgi, remain poorly defined. Here, using mouse and cell models, we clarify the molecular mechanisms underlying the intra-Golgi vectorial transfer of GlcCer by FAPP2 and show that GlcCer is channelled by vesicular and non-vesicular transport to two topologically distinct glycosylation tracks in the Golgi cisternae and the trans-Golgi network, respectively. Our results indicate that the transport modality across the Golgi complex is a key determinant for the glycosylation pattern of a cargo and establish a new paradigm for the branching of the glycosphingolipid synthetic pathway.

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Figure 1: FAPP2 selectively controls the levels of globosides in vivo.
Figure 2: FAPP2 is selectively required for Gb3 synthesis.
Figure 3: Vesicular GlcCer transport feeds GM3 synthesis in the Golgi cisternae, whereas non-vesicular GlcCer transport feeds Gb3 synthesis in the TGN.
Figure 4: GlcCer binding enhances the binding of FAPP2 to PtdIns4P and targets it to the TGN.


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We thank A. Luini, C. Wilson and D. Priestman for discussions, A. Egorova for help with electron microscopy, G. Liebisch, A. Sigruener and G. Schmitz for lipidomic analysis. M.A.D.M. acknowledges the support of Telethon (GSP08002 and GGP06166), Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC) (IG 8623), and the EU (FP7 Lipidomicnet). G.D.’A. acknowledges the support of AIRC (MFAG 10585). P.M. acknowledges the support of Academy of Finland and Sigrid Jusélius Foundation. C.-C.C. was funded by a Study Abroad Scholarship from the Taiwan Ministry of Education.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.A.D.M. supervised the entire project; M.A.D.M. and G.D.’A. wrote the manuscript with comments from all co-authors; G.D.’A., with the help of M.S., designed and conducted at TIGEM the experiments of sphingolipid labelling, membrane trafficking, immuno-localization and controlled proteolysis. M.S. designed the strategy and produced plasmid vectors. M.S. and G.D.T. prepared recombinant proteins, anti-FAPP2 and anti-BET3 antibodies. T.U. and T.S. generated and characterized FAPP2geo/geo and FAPP2−/−mice under the supervision of A.H. C.-C.C. conducted the HPLC measurements of GSLs under the supervision of F.M.P. L.J. provided the Cy3-ShTxB. E.P. and T.D. conducted the electron microscopy experiments. H.O.-R. conducted the surface plasmon resonance experiments under the supervision of P.M. A.V. conducted the tryptophan fluorescence and circular dichroism experiments under the supervision of S.D’.A. F.C. and G.D’.A. produced the mathematical model for GSL metabolism. M.M. and P.P. performed and interpreted the MS analysis; R.L.W. and J.E.B. performed and interpreted the HDX analysis.

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Correspondence to Maria Antonietta De Matteis.

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D’Angelo, G., Uemura, T., Chuang, CC. et al. Vesicular and non-vesicular transport feed distinct glycosylation pathways in the Golgi. Nature 501, 116–120 (2013).

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