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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1999 Feb 1;362(1):38-45.

Elevated O-linked N-acetylglucosamine metabolism in pancreatic beta-cells.

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Laboratory of Cell Biochemistry and Biology, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA.


High intracellular glucose concentrations increase flux though the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, resulting in elevated UDP-N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) concentrations. The nucleocytoplasmic enzyme O-linked N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (OGT) uses UDP-GlcNAc as a donor to modify numerous critical substrates, including nuclear pore proteins and transcription factors. Here, we document (a) the overwhelming enrichment of pancreatic OGT transcripts in the beta-cells of the islets of Langerhans, (b) the physiologically significant increase in the level of O-GlcNAc residues present in beta-cells, and (c) the action of streptozotocin, a close analogue of GlcNAc, to selectively inhibit O-GlcNAcase, an enzyme involved in the removal of O-GlcNAc residues. Taken together, these findings suggest that pancreatic beta cells maintain a highly elevated O-GlcNAc metabolism and that the diabetes inducing drug streptozotocin inhibits O-GlcNAcase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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