A long-chain cis-isoprenyltransferase (cis-IPTase) located in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) catalyzes the chain elongation stage in the pathway for the de novo biosynthesis of dolichyl monophosphate (Dol-P) in eukaryotic cells. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the ER-associated cis-IPTase is encoded by the RER2 gene. Mutations in the RER2 gene result in defects in growth and protein N-glycosylation. In this study a cDNA isolated from human brain (Accession No. AK023164.1), which has substantial homology to cis-IPTases from bacteria, Arabidopsis, and S. cerevisiae, has been shown to: (1) complement the growth defect; (2) restore cis-IPTase activity; dolichol and Dol-P synthesis; and (3) restore normal N-glycosylation of carboxypeptidase Y (CPY) in the yeast rer2Delta mutant. Consistent with a role in Dol-P biosynthesis, overexpression of the human cis-isoprenyltransferase (hCIT) cDNA also suppresses the temperature-sensitive growth and CPY hypoglycosylation phenotypes in sec59-1 cells which are defective in Dol-P biosynthesis due to a temperature-sensitive mutation in dolichol kinase. Overexpression of hCIT in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells results in a modest increase in cis-IPTase activity associated with microsomal fractions and the appearance of a new 38kDa polypeptide that co-localizes with calnexin in the ER, the site of Dol-P biosynthesis, even though no transmembrane domains are predicted by a hydropathy plot.
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