The human UDP-galactose 4'-epimerase (GALE) is required for cell-surface glycome structure and function.


Glycan biosynthesis relies on nucleotidesugars (NS), abundant metabolites that serve as monosaccharide donors for glycosyltransferases. In vivo, signal-dependent fluctuations in NS levels are required to maintain normal cell physiology and are dysregulated in disease, but how mammalian cells regulate NS levels and pathway flux remains largely uncharacterized. To address this knowledge gap, we examined uridine diphosphate (UDP)-galactose 4'-epimerase (GALE), which interconverts two pairs of essential NSs. GALE deletion in human cells triggered major imbalances in its substrate NSs and consequent dramatic changes in glycolipids and glycoproteins, including a subset of integrins and the death receptor Fas. NS dysregulation also directly impacted cell signaling, as GALE-/- cells exhibit Fas hypoglycosylation and hypersensitivity to Fas ligand-induced apoptosis. Our results reveal a new role for GALE-mediated NS regulation in supporting death receptor signaling and may have implications for the molecular etiology of illnesses characterized by NS imbalances, including galactosemia and metabolic syndrome.





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Publication Info

Broussard, Alex, Alyssa Florwick, Chelsea Desbiens, Nicole Nischan, Corrina Robertson, Ziqiang Guan, Jennifer J Kohler, Lance Wells, et al. (2019). The human UDP-galactose 4'-epimerase (GALE) is required for cell-surface glycome structure and function. The Journal of biological chemistry. pp. jbc.RA119.009271–jbc.RA119.009271. 10.1074/jbc.ra119.009271 Retrieved from

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