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J Biol Chem. 2012 Mar 30;287(14):11070-81. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.302547. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

Critical role of O-Linked β-N-acetylglucosamine transferase in prostate cancer invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102, USA.


Cancer cells universally increase glucose and glutamine consumption, leading to the altered metabolic state known as the Warburg effect; one metabolic pathway, highly dependent on glucose and glutamine, is the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway. Increased flux through the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway leads to increases in the post-translational addition of O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) to various nuclear and cytosolic proteins. A number of these target proteins are implicated in cancer, and recently, O-GlcNAcylation was shown to play a role in breast cancer; however, O-GlcNAcylation in other cancers remains poorly defined. Here, we show that O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) is overexpressed in prostate cancer compared with normal prostate epithelium and that OGT protein and O-GlcNAc levels are elevated in prostate carcinoma cell lines. Reducing O-GlcNAcylation in PC3-ML cells was associated with reduced expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-9, and VEGF, resulting in inhibition of invasion and angiogenesis. OGT-mediated regulation of invasion and angiogenesis was dependent upon regulation of the oncogenic transcription factor FoxM1, a key regulator of invasion and angiogenesis, as reducing OGT expression led to increased FoxM1 protein degradation. Conversely, overexpression of a degradation-resistant FoxM1 mutant abrogated OGT RNAi-mediated effects on invasion, MMP levels, angiogenesis, and VEGF expression. Using a mouse model of metastasis, we found that reduction of OGT expression blocked bone metastasis. Altogether, these data suggest that as prostate cancer cells alter glucose and glutamine levels, O-GlcNAc modifications and OGT levels become elevated and are required for regulation of malignant properties, implicating OGT as a novel therapeutic target in the treatment of cancer.

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