LAD II/CDG IIc is a rare autosomal recessive disease characterized by a decreased expression of fucosylated antigens on cell surfaces that results in leukocyte adhesion deficiency and severe neurological and developmental abnormalities. Its molecular basis has been identified as a defect in the transporter of GDP-L-fucose into the Golgi lumen, which reduces the availability of the substrate for fucosyltransferases. During metabolic radiolabeling experiments using [3H]fucose, LAD II fibroblasts incorporated significantly less radiolabel compared with control cells. However, fractionation and analysis of the different classes of glycans indicated that the decrease in [3H]fucose incorporation is not generalized and is mainly confined to terminal fucosylation of N-linked oligosaccharides. In contrast, the total levels of protein O-fucosylation, including that observed in Notch protein, were unaffected. This finding demonstrates that the decrease in GDP-L-fucose levels in the fibroblast Golgi caused by the LAD II defect does not impair bulk protein O-fucosylation, but severely affects the bulk addition of fucose as a terminal modification of N-linked glycans. These data suggest that the severe clinical abnormalities including neurological and developmental ones observed in at least some of the LAD II patients may be related to alteration in recognition systems involving terminal fucose modifications of N-glycans and not be due to a defective O-fucosylation of proteins such as Notch.
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