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Trends Biochem Sci. 2010 Oct;35(10):547-55. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2010.04.005. Epub 2010 May 11.

O-GlcNAc signaling: a metabolic link between diabetes and cancer?

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  • 1The Department of Biological Chemistry, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725N. Wolfe St. Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a sugar attachment to serine or threonine hydroxyl moieties on nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. In many ways, O-GlcNAcylation is similar to phosphorylation because both post-translational modifications cycle rapidly in response to internal or environmental cues. O-GlcNAcylated proteins are involved in transcription, translation, cytoskeletal assembly, signal transduction, and many other cellular functions. O-GlcNAc signaling is intertwined with cellular metabolism; indeed, the donor sugar for O-GlcNAcylation (UDP-GlcNAc) is synthesized from glucose, glutamine, and UTP via the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway. Emerging research indicates that O-GlcNAc signaling and its crosstalk with phosphorylation are altered in metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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