Indexed on: 19 Jul '01Published on: 19 Jul '01Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry
We present evidence for the expression of three alpha-dystroglycan glycoforms in skeletal muscle cells, including two minor glycoforms marked by either patent or latent reactivity with the N-acetylgalactosamine-specific lectin Vicia villosa agglutinin. Both minor glycoforms co-isolated with beta-dystroglycan, but not with other dystrophin/utrophin-glycoprotein complex components, suggesting that they may perform distinct or modified cellular functions. We also confirmed that both patent and latent V. villosa agglutinin-reactive alpha-dystroglycan glycoforms are expressed in C2C12 myotubes. However, we found that the combined effect of saturating concentrations of V. villosa agglutinin and laminin-1 were strictly additive with respect to acetylcholine receptor cluster formation in C2C12 myotubes, which suggests that laminin-1 and V. villosa agglutinin do not compete for the same binding site on the cell surface. Finally, although beta-N-acetylhexosaminidase digestion dramatically inhibited agrin-, V. villosa agglutinin-, and laminin-1-induced acetylcholine receptor clustering in C2C12 myotubes, treatment with this enzyme had no effect on the amount of alpha-dystroglycan that was bound to V. villosa agglutinin-agarose. We conclude that alpha-dystroglycan is not the V. villosa agglutinin receptor implicated in acetylcholine receptor cluster formation. However, our data provide new support for the hypothesis that different glycoforms of alpha-dystroglycan may perform distinct functions even within the same cell.