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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Sep;285(3):E584-91.

O-glycosylation of Sp1 and transcriptional regulation of the calmodulin gene by insulin and glucagon.

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  • 1Research Services, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Memphis, TN 38104, USA.


Both insulin and glucagon stimulate steady-state levels of Sp1 transcription factor, but only insulin stimulates transcription of the calmodulin (CaM) gene in liver. Because O-glycosylation of Sp1 by O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is thought to regulate its ability to activate transcription, we assayed the levels of Sp1 with anti-Sp1 and anti-O-GlcNAc antibodies in Western blots by use of extracts of H-411E liver cells treated with insulin (10,000 microU/ml) or glucagon (1.5 x 10(-5) M). We also assessed subcellular localization of the native and glycosylated Sp1 in H411E cells treated with either hormone in the presence of deoxynorleucine (DON, an indirect inhibitor of O-glycosylation) or streptozotocin (STZ, an indirect stimulator of O-glycosylation). Insulin stimulated both total and O-GlcNAc-modified Sp1 primarily in the nucleus and induced CaM gene transcription (P < 0.0001). In contrast, glucagon promoted accumulation of Sp1 in the cytoplasm but not the nucleus, without significantly stimulating (P = not significant) either its O-glycosylation or transcription of the CaM gene. DON inhibited O-glycosylation of Sp1 and its ability to migrate to the nucleus and transactivate CaM gene transcription. In contrast, cotreatment of cells with STZ and glucagon enhanced O-glycosylation of Sp1, promoting its migration to the nucleus and resulting in increased CaM gene transcription. Thus O-glycosylation of Sp1 by insulin, but not glucagon, apparently enhances its (Sp1) nuclear recruitment and results in activation of CaM gene transcription.

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