N-linked glycosylation does not impair proteasomal degradation but affects class I major histocompatibility complex presentation

Edith Kario, Boaz Tirosh, Hidde L. Ploegh, Ami Navon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The addition of N-linked glycans to nascent polypeptides occurs cotranslationally in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). For many proteins the state of the glycans serves as an indicator, which allows the ER quality control system to monitor the conformation of polypeptides upon folding. Proteins that fail to fold in the ER are often dislocated to the cytoplasm, where they are subjected to proteasomal degradation. Although the addition of N-linked glycans occurs within the ER, non-lysosomal removal of the glycans occurs in the cytosol by the action of peptide N-glycanase (PNGase). In this study, we investigated the interplay between PNGase action and proteasomal degradation of ER misfolded proteins (i.e. whether PNGase acts prior to or following proteasomal degradation). Interestingly, we found that glycan removal from N-terminally extended peptides modulates the presentation of class I major histocompatibility complex-restricted epitopes. Our findings provide direct evidence that the proteasome is capable of degrading glycoproteins without prior removal of their glycans. This degradation is independent of either the identity of the glycosylated protein or the type and number of N-linked glycans it harbors. We also captured and characterized glycopeptides generated following proteasomal degradation of RNaseB. Although the carbohydrate moiety reduced the variability of the degradation products that include the glycosylated residue (local effect), the overall global digestion pattern of RNaseB was unaffected. Together with earlier findings by others, our data support a model in which PNGase may act both upstream and downstream to proteasomal degradation and demonstrates its important role in class I major histocompatibility complex antigen presentation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)244-254
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 4 Jan 2008


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