Zhenxing Gao, Huixia Zhang, Fei Hu, Liheng Yang, Xiaowen Yang, Ying Zhu, Man-Sun Sy, Chaoyang Li
Cellular Signalling，Volume 28, Issue 6, June 2016, Pages 652–662
Whether the two N-linked glycans are important in prion, PrP, biology is unresolved. In Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, the two glycans are clearly not important in the cell surface expression of transfected human PrP. Compared to fully-glycosylated PrP, glycan-deficient PrP preferentially partitions to lipid raft. In CHO cells glycan-deficient PrP also interacts with glycosaminoglycan (GAG) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), resulting in VEGFR2 activation and enhanced Akt phosphorylation. Accordingly, CHO cells expressing glycan-deficient PrP lacking the GAG binding motif or cells treated with heparinase to remove GAG show diminished Akt signaling. Being in lipid raft is critical, chimeric glycan-deficient PrP with CD4 transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains is absent in lipid raft and does not activate Akt signaling. CHO cells bearing glycan-deficient PrP also exhibit enhanced cellular adhesion and migration. Based on these findings, we propose a model in which glycan-deficient PrP, GAG, and VEGFR2 interact, activating VEGFR2 and resulting in changes in cellular behavior.