The human Ca2+ receptor (hCaR) is a member of the superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors. Its large (~600 residue) amino-terminal extracellular domain contains 9 potential N-linked glycosylation sites. Immunoblot of cell membranes derived from HEK-293 cells, stably transfected with the hCaR, showed two major immunoreactive bands of approximately 150 and 130 kDa, respectively. Complete digestion of the membranes with PN- glycosidase F yielded a single major immunoreactive band of approximately 115 kDa, confirming the presence of N-linked glycosylation. Treatment of these cells with tunicamycin, which blocks N-linked glycosylation, inhibited signal transduction in response to Ca2+. Flow cytometric analysis showed decreased expression of the hCaR on the cell membrane in tunicamycin-treated cells. Immunoblot of tunicamycin-treated cells showed a reduction in the amount of the 150-kDa band and conversion of the 130-kDa band to the presumptively nonglycosylated 115-kDa form. Tunicamycin treatment of cells, transfected with a mutant hCaR complementary DNA containing a nonsense codon at position 599 preceding the 1st transmembrane domain, blocked the secretion of a 95- kDa protein, representing the amino-terminal extracellular domain, into the medium. These results demonstrate that N-linked glycosylation is required for normal expression of the hCaR at the cell surface.
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