The relationship of N-linked glycosylation and association with heavy chain binding protein (BiP) to the secretion of Factor VIII (FVIII), von Willebrand Factor (vWF), and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) was studied in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. FVIII has a heavily glycosylated region containing 20 clustered potential N-linked glycosylation sites. A significant proportion of FVIII was detected in a stable complex with BiP and not secreted. Deletion of the heavily glycosylated region resulted in reduced association with BiP and more efficient secretion. Tunicamycin treatment of cells producing this deleted form of FVIII resulted in stable association of unglycosylated FVIII with BiP and inhibition of efficient secretion. vWF contains 17 potential N-linked glycosylation sites scattered throughout the molecule. vWF was transiently associated with BiP and efficiently secreted demonstrating that CHO cells are competent to secrete a highly glycosylated protein. tPA, which has three utilized N-linked glycosylation sites, exhibited low level association with BiP and was efficiently secreted. Disruption of N-linked glycosylation of tPA by either site-directed mutagenesis or tunicamycin treatment resulted in reduced levels of secretion and increased association with BiP. This effect was enhanced by high levels of tPA expression. The glycosylation state and extent of association with BiP could be correlated with secretion efficiency.

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