In this study we identified a novel galactosyltransferase 1-associating protein (GTAP) by cDNA cloning from a murine embryonic cDNA library using the two-hybrid yeast system. GTAP is expressed in early embryonic tissues, as well as in adult tissues with active cell turnover, and belongs to the class III ubiquitin-conjugating (E2) enzyme family. Its COOH-terminal domain contains a consensus sequence for ubiquitin binding shared by all the ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes, whereas its NH(2)-terminal domain appears critical for the binding and internalization of cell surface galactosyltransferase 1 (GalT1) in embryonic stem cells through a monensin- and MG132-dependent pathway. We have found that GTAP regulates GalT1-associated, laminin-dependent embryonic cell adhesion and the formation of embryoid bodies. Thus, GTAP functions as an evolutionarily conserved E2 enzyme, which may participate in intercellular adhesion and embryonic development. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.
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