Lysyl hydroxylase (EC220.127.116.11, LH) catalyzes post-translationally the hydroxylation of lysyl residues in collagens and other proteins with collagenous domains. Hydroxylysyl residues may also be glycosylated by hydroxylysyl galactosyltransferase (EC 18.104.22.168, GT) or galactosylhydroxylysyl glucosyltransferase (EC 22.214.171.124, GGT) to form galactosylhydroxylysyl or glucosylgalactosylhydroxylysyl residues, structures unique to collagen.
Three LH isoenzymes (LH1, LH2a/2b, LH3) have been characterized so far. We analyzed mRNA levels of these isoforms, as well as the mRNAs of the main collagen types (I, III, IV, V) and the α subunit of PH-4 in different human cell lines. Large variations were found in mRNA expression of LH1 and LH2 but not LH3. The mRNA levels of LH1, LH2, and the α subunit of PH-4 showed significant correlation with each other whereas LH3 correlated with none. No correlation was observed between the LH isoforms and individual collagen types.
Three human LH isoforms were expressed in different expression systems. The purified recombinant protein produced by LH3 cDNA was found to be the only one possessing LH, GT and GGT activities. The molecular weight of the partially purified LH3 expressed in Sf9 or Cos-7 cells corresponded to about 85 kDa whereas that in E. coli cells was about 81 kDa probably due to a deficiency of glycosylation in bacterial cells. The recombinant protein of C. elegans LH cDNA was expressed in a cell-free translation system and in E. coli cells. The data indicated that the glycosyltransferase activities, GT and GGT, were also associated with this gene product.
The sequence alignment of LH isoforms from different species revealed that there are 29 amino acids conserved between human LH3, mouse LH3 and C. elegans LH sequences and scattered evenly in the molecule, but differing from those of LH1 and LH2. In vitro mutagenesis data showed that the amino acids important for the glycosyltransferase activities were located at the amino-terminal part of the molecule, being separate from the LH active site. Mutation of a conserved LH3 specific, non-disulfide linked cysteine to isoleucine caused a dramatic reduction in GT and GGT activity but had no effect on LH activity. Mutations of the amino-terminal DxD motif (D187-191) characteristic of many glycosyltransferases eliminated both GT and GGT activities, showing the importance of this motif for collagen glycosyltransferases and suggesting that it might serve as the Mn2+ binding site in the molecule.