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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Apr 26;293(1):207-12.

Alloxan is an inhibitor of the enzyme O-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferase.

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Department of Diagnostic and Experimental Medicine, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA.


We have previously shown that diabetogenic antibiotic streptozotocin (STZ), an analog of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), inhibits the enzyme O-GlcNAc-selective N-acetyl-beta-d-glucosaminidase (O-GlcNAcase) which is responsible for the removal of O-GlcNAc from proteins. Alloxan, another beta-cell toxin is a uracil analog. Since the O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) uses UDP-GlcNAc as a substrate, we investigated whether alloxan might interfere with the process of protein O-glycosylation by blocking OGT, a very abundant enzyme in beta-cells. In isolated pancreatic islets, alloxan almost completely blocked both glucosamine-induced and STZ-induced protein O-GlcNAcylation, suggesting that alloxan indeed was inhibiting (OGT). In order to show definitively that alloxan was inhibiting OGT activity, recombinant OGT was incubated with 0-10 mM alloxan, and OGT activity was measured directly by quantitating UDP-[(3)H]-GlcNAc incorporation into the recombinant protein substrate, nucleoporin p62. Under these conditions, OGT activity was completely inhibited by 1 mM alloxan with half-maximal inhibition achieved at a concentration of 0.1 mM alloxan. Together, these data demonstrate that alloxan is an inhibitor of OGT, and as such, is the first OGT inhibitor described.

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