Author(s): Zeidan Q, Hart GW
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Abstract A paradigm-changing discovery in biology came about when it was found that nuclear and cytosolic proteins could be dynamically glycosylated with a single O-linked beta-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) moiety. O-GlcNAcylation is akin to phosphorylation: it occurs on serine and/or threonine side chains of proteins, and cycles rapidly upon cellular activation. O-GlcNAc and phosphate show a complex interplay: they can either competitively occupy a single site or proximal sites, or noncompetitively occupy different sites on a substrate. Phosphorylation regulates O-GlcNAc-cycling enzymes and, conversely, O-GlcNAcylation controls phosphate-cycling enzymes. Such crosstalk is evident in all compartments of the cell, a finding that is congruent with the fundamental role of O-GlcNAc in regulating nutrient- and stress-induced signal transduction. O-GlcNAc transferase is recruited to the plasma membrane in response to insulin and is targeted to substrates by forming transient holoenzyme complexes that have different specificities. Cytosolic O-GlcNAcylation is important for the proper transduction of signaling cascades such as the NFkappaB pathway, whereas nuclear O-GlcNAc is crucial for regulating the activity of numerous transcription factors. This Commentary focuses on recent findings supporting an emerging concept that continuous crosstalk between phosphorylation and O-GlcNAcylation is essential for the control of vital cellular processes and for understanding the mechanisms that underlie certain neuropathologies.
This article was published in J Cell Sci
and referenced in Journal of Metabolic Syndrome