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Repnikova, E., Koles, K., Nakamura, M., Pitts, J., Li, H., Ambavane, A., Zoran, M.J., Panin, V.M. (2010). Sialyltransferase regulates nervous system function in Drosophila.  J. Neurosci. 30(18): 6466--6476.
FlyBase ID
FBrf0210736
Publication Type
Research paper
Abstract

In vertebrates, sialylated glycans participate in a wide range of biological processes and affect the development and function of the nervous system. While the complexity of glycosylation and the functional redundancy among sialyltransferases provide obstacles for revealing biological roles of sialylation in mammals, Drosophila possesses a sole vertebrate-type sialyltransferase, Drosophila sialyltransferase (DSiaT), with significant homology to its mammalian counterparts, suggesting that Drosophila could be a suitable model to investigate the function of sialylation. To explore this possibility and investigate the role of sialylation in Drosophila, we inactivated DSiaT in vivo by gene targeting and analyzed phenotypes of DSiaT mutants using a combination of behavioral, immunolabeling, electrophysiological, and pharmacological approaches. Our experiments demonstrated that DSiaT expression is restricted to a subset of CNS neurons throughout development. We found that DSiaT mutations result in significantly decreased life span, locomotor abnormalities, temperature-sensitive paralysis, and defects of neuromuscular junctions. Our results indicate that DSiaT regulates neuronal excitability and affects the function of a voltage-gated sodium channel. Finally, we showed that sialyltransferase activity is required for DSiaT function in vivo, which suggests that DSiaT mutant phenotypes result from a defect in sialylation of N-glycans. This work provided the first evidence that sialylation has an important biological function in protostomes, while also revealing a novel, nervous system-specific function of alpha2,6-sialylation. Thus, our data shed light on one of the most ancient functions of sialic acids in metazoan organisms and suggest a possibility that this function is evolutionarily conserved between flies and mammals.

PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC3354699 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Language of Publication
    English
    Additional Languages of Abstract
    Parent Publication
    Publication Type
    Journal
    Abbreviation
    J. Neurosci.
    Title
    Journal of Neuroscience
    Publication Year
    1981-
    ISBN/ISSN
    0270-6474 1529-2401
    Data From Reference
    Aberrations (1)
    Alleles (14)
    Genes (11)
    Natural transposons (1)
    Insertions (4)
    Experimental Tools (2)
    Transgenic Constructs (6)
    Transcripts (2)