A Golgi UDP-GlcNAc transporter delivers substrates for N-linked glycans and sphingolipids Academic Article uri icon


  • Glycosylation requires activated glycosyl donors in the form of nucleotide sugars to drive processes such as post-translational protein modifications and glycolipid and polysaccharide biosynthesis. Most of these reactions occur in the Golgi, requiring cytosolic-derived nucleotide sugars, which need to be actively transferred into the Golgi lumen by nucleotide sugar transporters. We identified a Golgi-localized nucleotide sugar transporter from Arabidopsis thaliana with affinity for UDP-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) and assigned it UDP-GlcNAc transporter 1 (UGNT1). Profiles of N-glycopeptides revealed that plants carrying the ugnt1 loss-of-function allele are virtually devoid of complex and hybrid N-glycans. Instead, the N-glycopeptide population from these alleles exhibited high-mannose structures, representing structures prior to the addition of the first GlcNAc in the Golgi. Concomitantly, sphingolipid profiling revealed that the biosynthesis of GlcNAc-containing glycosyl inositol phosphorylceramides (GIPCs) is also reliant on this transporter. By contrast, plants carrying the loss-of-function alleles affecting ROCK1, which has been reported to transport UDP-GlcNAc and UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine, exhibit no changes in N-glycan or GIPC profiles. Our findings reveal that plants contain a single UDP-GlcNAc transporter that delivers an essential substrate for the maturation of N-glycans and the GIPC class of sphingolipids.


  • Ebert, B
  • Rautengarten, C
  • McFarlane, HE
  • Rupasinghe, T
  • Zeng, W
  • Ford, K
  • Scheller, HV
  • Bacic, Tony
  • Roessner, U
  • Persson, S
  • Heazlewood, JL

publication date

  • 2018