Characterization of a membrane-bound C-glucosyltransferase responsible for carminic acid biosynthesis in Dactylopius coccus Costa

Rubini Kannangara, Lina Siukstaite, Jonas Borch-Jensen, Bjorn Madsen, Kenneth T. Kongstad, Dan Stærk, Mads Bennedsen, Finn T. Okkels, Silas Anselm Rasmussen, Thomas Ostenfeld Larsen, Rasmus John Normand Frandsen, Birger Lindberg Møller

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Abstract

Carminic acid, a glucosylated anthraquinone found in scale insects like Dactylopius coccus, has since ancient times been used as a red colorant in various applications. Here we show that a membrane-bound C-glucosyltransferase, isolated from D. coccus and designated DcUGT2, catalyzes the glucosylation of flavokermesic acid and kermesic acid into their respective C-glucosides dcII and carminic acid. DcUGT2 is predicted to be a type I integral endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein, containing a cleavable N-terminal signal peptide and a C-terminal transmembrane helix that anchors the protein to the ER, followed by a short cytoplasmic tail. DcUGT2 is found to be heavily glycosylated. Truncated DcUGT2 proteins synthesized in yeast indicate the presence of an internal ER-targeting signal. The cleavable N-terminal signal peptide is shown to be essential for the activity of DcUGT2, whereas the transmembrane helix/cytoplasmic domains, although important, are not crucial for its catalytic function.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1987
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
Issue number1
Number of pages12
ISSN2041-1723
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article
  • MULTIDISCIPLINARY
  • UDP-GLUCURONOSYLTRANSFERASE UGT1A6
  • PERFORMANCE LIQUID-CHROMATOGRAPHY
  • ENDOPLASMIC-RETICULUM
  • PEDERIN BIOSYNTHESIS
  • PAEDERUS-SABAEUS
  • SIGNAL SEQUENCE
  • COCHINEAL DYE
  • IDENTIFICATION
  • HEMOCYTES
  • CHEMISTRY

Cite this

Kannangara, R., Siukstaite, L., Borch-Jensen, J., Madsen, B., Kongstad, K. T., Stærk, D., Bennedsen, M., Okkels, F. T., Rasmussen, S. A., Larsen, T. O., Frandsen, R. J. N., & Møller, B. L. (2017). Characterization of a membrane-bound C-glucosyltransferase responsible for carminic acid biosynthesis in Dactylopius coccus Costa. Nature Communications, 8(1), [1987 ]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02031-z