A genome-wide CRISPR screen reconciles the role of N-linked glycosylation in galectin-3 transport to the cell surface.
Stewart SE, Menzies SA, Popa SJ, Savinykh N, Petrunkina Harrison A, Lehner PJ, Moreau K
Galectins are a family of lectin binding proteins expressed both intracellularly and extracellularly. Galectin-3 (Gal-3, also known as LGALS3) is expressed at the cell surface; however, Gal-3 lacks a signal sequence, and the mechanism of Gal-3 transport to the cell surface remains poorly understood. Here, using a genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 forward genetic screen for regulators of Gal-3 cell surface localization, we identified genes encoding glycoproteins, enzymes involved in N-linked glycosylation, regulators of ER-Golgi trafficking and proteins involved in immunity. The results of this screening approach led us to address the controversial role of N-linked glycosylation in the transport of Gal-3 to the cell surface. We find that N-linked glycoprotein maturation is not required for Gal-3 transport from the cytosol to the extracellular space, but is important for cell surface binding. Additionally, secreted Gal-3 is predominantly free and not packaged into extracellular vesicles. These data support a secretion pathway independent of N-linked glycoproteins and extracellular vesicles.