Effects of tunicamycin on protein glycosylation and development inVolvox carteri

  • Nurith Kurn
  • Dan Duksin


The involvement of protein glycosylation in regulation of the development of the multicellular green alga,Volvox carteri, was studied using the antibiotic, tunicamycin. Three specific developmental processes were found to be affected by the antibiotic: reproductive cell maturation; establishment of polar cellular organization during embryogenesis and release of progeny spheroids from the parental spheroids. Tunicamycin inhibited the transfer of GlcNAc-1-phosphate to dolichyl phosphate which is catalyzed byVolvox membrane preparations. Changes in the glycosylation of several secreted and cellular glycoproteins were observed when proteins were labelled with radioactive amino acids and sugars in the absence and presence of tunicamycin and then electrophoresed on sodium dodecylsulfate-polyacrylamide slab gels. The levels of a few secreted proteins were reduced in tunicamycin treated cultures and one protein band appeared exclusively in the treated cells. Tunicamycin treatment also altered the electrophoretic mobility of radio-iodinated surface macromolecules. Binding of concanavalin A by tunicamycin treatedVolvox spheroids was drastically reduced. It is there-fore likely that the aberrant development results from inhibition of protein glycosylation and the consequent changes in the structure of the cellular, secreted and surface glycoproteins.

Key words

Volvox Development Glycoproteins Glycosylation Tunicamycin 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nurith Kurn
    • 1
  • Dan Duksin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiophysicsThe Weizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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