The glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor is a membrane attachment structure of many proteins and occurs in a wide variety of eukaryotes from yeasts to mammals. The structure of the core of the GPI anchor is conserved in protozoa and mammals and so is its biosynthetic pathway. A complementary DNA encoding a human protein termed PIG-A (phosphatidylinositol glycan-class A) was cloned. PIG-A was necessary for synthesis of N-acetylglucosaminyl- phosphatidylinositol, the very early intermediate in GPI-anchor biosynthesis.
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