Sci Rep . 2016 Nov 21;6:35210. doi: 10.1038/srep35210.

N-linked glycosylation at Asn152 on CD147 affects protein folding and stability: promoting tumour metastasis in hepatocellular carcinoma

Jiang-Hua Li  1 Wan Huang  1 Peng Lin  1 Bo Wu  1 Zhi-Guang Fu  1 Hao-Miao Shen  1 Lin Jing  1 Zhen-Yu Liu  1 Yang Zhou  1 Yao Meng  1 Bao-Qing Xu  1 Zhi-Nan Chen  1 Jian-Li Jiang  1

1 National Translational Science Center for Molecular Medicine, Department of Cell Biology, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an 710032, China.


Cluster of differentiation 147 (CD147), also known as extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer, is a transmembrane glycoprotein that mediates oncogenic processes partly through N-glycosylation modifications. N-glycosylation has been demonstrated to be instrumental for the regulation of CD147 function during malignant transformation. However, the role that site-specific glycosylation of CD147 plays in its defective function in hepatocellular carcinomacells needs to be determined. Here, we demonstrate that the modification of N-glycosylation at Asn152 on CD147 strongly promotes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) invasion and migration. After the removal of N-glycans at Asn152, CD147 was more susceptible to degradation by ER-localized ubiquitin ligase-mediated endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). Furthermore, N-linked glycans at Asn152 were required for CD147 to acquire and maintain proper folding in the ER. Moreover, N-linked glycans at Asn152 functioned as a recognition motif that was directly mediated by the CNX quality control system. Two phases in the retention-based ER chaperones system drove ER-localized CD147 trafficking to degradation. Deletion of N-linked glycosylation at Asn152 on CD147 significantly suppressed in situ tumour metastasis. These data could potentially shed light on the molecular regulation of CD147 through glycosylation and provide a valuable means of developing drugs that target N-glycans at Asn152 on CD147.