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Commun Integr Biol. 2012 Mar 1;5(2):156-9. doi: 10.4161/cib.19034.

Novel roles for GlcNAc in cell signaling.


N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) has long been known to play important roles in cell surface structure. Recent studies are now revealing new functions for GlcNAc in cell signaling. Exposure to GlcNAc regulates virulence functions in the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans and in pathogenic bacteria. These signaling pathways sense exogenous GlcNAc and are distinct from the O-GlcNAc signaling pathways in mammalian cells in which increased levels of intracellular GlcNAc synthesis leads to post-translational modification of proteins by attachment of O-GlcNAc. The novel roles of GlcNAc in cell signaling will be the subject of this mini-review.


Candida albicans; GlcNAc; N-acetylglucosaminen; O-GlcNAc; cell wall; chitin; peptidoglycan

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