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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2005 Apr;37(4):765-74.

O-GlcNAc glycosylation: a signal for the nuclear transport of cytosolic proteins?

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Unité Mixte de Recherches 8576 du CNRS, Glycobiologie Structurale et Fonctionnelle, IFR 118, USTL, Bâtiment C9, 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq, France.


Year 2004 marks the 20th anniversary of the discovery of O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) by Gerald W. Hart. Despite interest for O-GlcNAc, the functions played by this single monosaccharide remain poorly understood, though numerous roles have been suggested, among which is the involvement of O-GlcNAc in the nuclear transport of cytosolic proteins. This idea was first sustained by studies on bovine serum albumin that showed that the protein could be actively carried to the nucleus when it was modified with sugars. In this paper, we will review data on this puzzling problem. We will first describe the well-established nuclear localisation signal (NLS)-dependent nuclear transport by presenting the different factors involved, and then, we will examine where and how O-GlcNAc could be involved in nuclear transport. Whereas it has been suggested that O-GlcNAc could interfere at two levels in the nuclear transport both by modifying proteins to be translocated to the nucleus and by modifying the nucleoporins of the nuclear pore complex, according to us, this second idea seems unlikely. Part of this study will also be dedicated to a relatively new concept in the nuclear transport: the role of the 70-kDa heat shock proteins (HSP70). The action of the chaperone in nuclear translocation was put forward 10 years ago, but new findings suggest that this mechanism could be linked to O-GlcNAc glycosylation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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