Synaptic transmission leading to release of neurotransmitters in the nervous system is a fast and highly dynamic process. Previously, protein interaction and phosphorylation have been thought to be the main regulators of synaptic transmission. Here we show that sialylation of N-linked glycosylation is a novel potential modulator of neurotransmitter release mechanisms by investigating depolarization-dependent changes of formerly sialylated N-linked glycopeptides. We suggest that negatively charged sialic acids can be modulated, similarly to phosphorylation, by the action of sialyltransferases and sialidases thereby changing local structure and function of membrane glycoproteins. We characterized site-specific alteration in sialylation on N-linked glycoproteins in isolated rat nerve terminals after brief depolarization using quantitative sialiomics. We identified 1965 formerly sialylated N-linked glycosites in synaptic proteins and found that the abundances of 430 glycosites changed after 5 s depolarization. We observed changes on essential synaptic proteins such as synaptic vesicle proteins, ion channels and transporters, neurotransmitter receptors and cell adhesion molecules. This study is to our knowledge the first to describe ultra-fast site-specific modulation of the sialiome after brief stimulation of a biological system.
- glycoprotein pathways
- post-translational modifications
- sialic acid
- subcellular separation
- tandem mass spectrometry