Lipid sugar carriers at the extremes: The phosphodolichols Archaea use in N-glycosylation.
N-glycosylation, a post-translational modification whereby glycans are covalently linked to select Asn residues of target proteins, occurs in all three domains of life. Across evolution, the N-linked glycans are initially assembled on phosphorylated cytoplasmically-oriented polyisoprenoids, with polyprenol (mainly C55 undecaprenol) fulfilling this role in Bacteria and dolichol assuming this function in Eukarya and Archaea. The eukaryal and archaeal versions of dolichol can, however, be distinguished on the basis of their length, degree of saturation and by other traits. As is true for many facets of their biology, Archaea, best known in their capacity as extremophiles, present unique approaches for synthesizing phosphodolichols. At the same time, general insight into the assembly and processing of glycan-bearing phosphodolichols has come from studies of the archaeal enzymes responsible. In this review, these and other aspects of archaeal phosphodolichol biology are addressed.
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