Molecular cloning and expression of two distinct human chondroitin 4-O-sulfotransferases that belong to the HNK-1 sulfotransferase gene family.
Using an expression cloning strategy, the cDNA encoding the human HNK-1 sulfotransferase (HNK-1ST) has been cloned. During this cloning we found that HNK-1ST and other Golgi-associated sulfotransferases cloned before share homologous sequences including the RDP motif (Ong, E., Yeh, J.-C., Ding, Y., Hindsgaul, O., and Fukuda, M. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 223, 5190-5195). Using this conserved sequence in HNK-1ST as a probe, we identified two expressed sequence tags in EST data base which have 31.6 and 30.7% identity with HNK-1ST at the amino acid levels. Expression of these two full-length cDNAs failed to form HNK-1 glycan nor to add sulfate to CD34 or NCAM. Surprisingly, proteins expressed by these cDNAs transferred sulfate to the C-4 position of N-acetylgalactosamine in chondroitin and desulfated dermatan sulfate, thus we named these two enzymes, chondroitin 4-O-sulfotransferase 1 and -2 (C4ST-1 and C4ST-2). Both C4ST-1 and C4ST-2, however, did not form 4, 6-di-O-sulfated N-acetylgalactosamine when chondroitin sulfate C was used as an acceptor. Moreover, analysis of (35)S-labeled dermatan sulfate formed by C4ST-1 indicate that sulfation preferentially took place in GlcA-->GalNAc unit than in IdoA-->GalNAc unit, suggesting that 4-O-sulfation at N-acetylgalactosamine may precede epimerization of glucuronic acid to iduronic acid during dermatan sulfate biosynthesis. Northern analysis demonstrated that the transcript for C4ST-1 is predominantly expressed in peripheral leukocytes and hematopoietic tissues while the C4ST-2 transcript is more widely expressed in various tissues. These results indicate C4ST-1 and C4ST-2 play complementary roles in chondroitin and dermatan sulfate synthesis in different tissues.