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Regulation of intracellular activity of N-glycan branching enzymes in mammals

Most proteins in the secretory pathway are glycosylated, and N-glycans are estimated to be attached to over 7000 proteins in humans. As structural variation of N-glycans critically regulates the functions of a particular glycoprotein, it is pivotal to understand how structural diversity of N-glycans is generated in cells. One of the major factors conferring structural variation of N-glycans is the variable number of N-acetylglucosamine branches. These branch structures are biosynthesized by dedicated glycosyltransferases, including GnT-III (MGAT3), GnT-IVa (MGAT4A), GnT-IVb (MGAT4B), GnT-V (MGAT5), and GnT-IX (GnT-Vb, MGAT5B). In addition, the presence or absence of core modification of N-glycans, namely, core fucose (included as an N-glycan branch in this manuscript), synthesized by FUT8, also confers large structural variation on N-glycans, thereby crucially regulating many protein-protein interactions. […] In this review, we summarize the previous findings and recent updates regarding regulation of the activity of these N-glycan branching enzymes.