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Annu Rev Biochem. 2011;80:825-58. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-060608-102511.

Cross talk between O-GlcNAcylation and phosphorylation: roles in signaling, transcription, and chronic disease.

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1
Departments of Biological Chemistry and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205;

Abstract

O-GlcNAcylation is the addition of ╬▓-D-N-acetylglucosamine to serine or threonine residues of nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) was not discovered until the early 1980s and still remains difficult to detect and quantify. Nonetheless, O-GlcNAc is highly abundant and cycles on proteins with a timescale similar to protein phosphorylation. O-GlcNAc occurs in organisms ranging from some bacteria to protozoans and metazoans, including plants and nematodes up the evolutionary tree to man. O-GlcNAcylation is mostly on nuclear proteins, but it occurs in all intracellular compartments, including mitochondria. Recent glycomic analyses have shown that O-GlcNAcylation has surprisingly extensive cross talk with phosphorylation, where it serves as a nutrient/stress sensor to modulate signaling, transcription, and cytoskeletal functions. Abnormal amounts of O-GlcNAcylation underlie the etiology of insulin resistance and glucose toxicity in diabetes, and this type of modification plays a direct role in neurodegenerative disease. Many oncogenic proteins and tumor suppressor proteins are also regulated by O-GlcNAcylation. Current data justify extensive efforts toward a better understanding of this invisible, yet abundant, modification. As tools for the study of O-GlcNAc become more facile and available, exponential growth in this area of research will eventually take place.

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