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03 2019 PloS one

The GalNAc-T Activation (GALA) Pathway: Drivers and markers.


Chia J, Tay F, Bard F


The enzymes GALNTs add GalNAc sugar to Ser and Thr residues, forming the Tn glycan. GALNTs are activated by trafficking from Golgi to ER, a process driven by the Src kinase and negatively regulated by ERK8. This GALNTs activation (aka GALA) pathway induces high Tn levels and is a key driver of liver tumor growth. Recently, Tabak and colleagues have contested our previous data that EGF stimulation can induce GALNTs relocation. Here, we show that relocation induced by EGF is actually detectable in the very images acquired by Tabak et al. Furthermore, we show that over-expression of EGFR strongly enhances EGF-induced relocation and that EGFR appears required to drive relocation induced by ERK8 depletion. Direct co-localisation of GALNT with the ER marker Calnexin is observed after EGF stimulation. We furthermore propose that quantification of O-glycosylation of the ER resident protein PDIA4 provides a mean to quantify GALA independently of imaging. In sum, we demonstrate that the claimed non-reproducibility was due to experimental imaging conditions, that EGFR is indeed a driver of GALA and propose additional markers to facilitate the study of this pathway.

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