Addition of N-acetylgalactosamine to threonine and serine is the first step in the synthesis of O-glycosidically linked oligosaccharides. A UDP-N-acetyl-D-galactosamine:polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase (EC 220.127.116.11) from porcine submaxillary glands was recently purified to electrophoretic homogeneity, and polyclonal antibodies against the purified transferase were raised. Immunoblots of porcine, bovine, and ovine submaxillary gland extracts with the anti-transferase antibodies gave a single band and the antibodies reacted equally well with the purified glycosylated and N-glycanase-treated transferase. Immunoelectron microscopic localization of the transferase was achieved in Lowicryl K4M thin sections and frozen-thawed thin sections of porcine and bovine submaxillary gland by using the protein A-gold technique. Specific gold particle labeling was observed in the cis Golgi apparatus and smooth-membraned vesicular structures in close topological relation with it. Labeling was undetectable in the rough endoplasmic reticulum, its transitional elements, and smooth-membraned structures close to them, the trans Golgi apparatus, mucin droplets, and the plasma membrane. The onset of labeling for peptide-bound GalNAc as detected with Vicia villosa isolectin G4 mirrored the transferase immunolocalization as directly shown by double labeling and extended into the trans Golgi apparatus and mucous droplets. Apomucin immunolabeling was found throughout the endoplasmic reticulum and the intermediate compartment and partially overlapped the region of transferase labeling in the Golgi apparatus as demonstrated by double immunolabeling. Thus, the initial step of UDP-GalNAc:polypeptide N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-mediated O-glycosylation in porcine and bovine submaxillary gland cells occurs in the cis Golgi apparatus. The possible involvement of the intermediate compartment remains to be clarified
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