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Legionella effector SetA as a general O-glucosyltransferase for eukaryotic proteins


The identification of host protein substrates is key to understanding effector glycosyltransferases secreted by pathogenic bacteria and to using them for glycoprotein engineering. Here we report a chemical method for tagging, enrichment, and site-specific proteomic profiling of effector-modified proteins in host cells. Using this method, we discover that Legionella effector SetA α-O-glucosylates various eukaryotic proteins by recognizing a S/T-X-L-P/G sequence motif, which can be exploited to site-specifically introduce O-glucose on recombinant proteins.

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Fig. 1: Chemoenzymatic labeling of effector glycosyltransferase-modified proteins in host cells.
Fig. 2: SetA recognizes a S/T-X-L-P/G sequence motif.
Fig. 3: Site-specific O-glucosylation of Notch-EGF12.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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We thank Z. Luo for providing L. pneumophila strains, W. Zhou at the mass spectrometry facility of the National Center for Protein Sciences at Peking University for assistance with proteomics analysis, and the High Performace Computing Platform of the Center for Life Sciences for supporting protein structure modeling. This work is supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (numbers 2018YFA0507600 and 2016YFA0501500 to X.C. and 2016YFA0502300 to L.L.) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (numbers 21425204, 21672013, 91753206, and 21521003 to X.C.).

Author information




L.G. and X.C. conceived the project; L.G. performed experiments with the help of Q.S., Y.Z., T.W., N.D., J.X., and F.S.; H.L. and L.L. performed the structural modeling; L.G. and X.C. analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xing Chen.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–16, Supplementary Note 1

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Supplementary Dataset 1

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Gao, L., Song, Q., Liang, H. et al. Legionella effector SetA as a general O-glucosyltransferase for eukaryotic proteins. Nat Chem Biol 15, 213–216 (2019).

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