O-GlcNAc signaling: A metabolic link between diabetes and cancer?

C. Slawson, R. J. Copeland, Gerald Warren Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

233 Scopus citations


O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a sugar attachment to serine or threonine hydroxyl moieties on nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. In many ways, O-GlcNAcylation is similar to phosphorylation because both post-translational modifications cycle rapidly in response to internal or environmental cues. O-GlcNAcylated proteins are involved in transcription, translation, cytoskeletal assembly, signal transduction, and many other cellular functions. O-GlcNAc signaling is intertwined with cellular metabolism; indeed, the donor sugar for O-GlcNAcylation (UDP-GlcNAc) is synthesized from glucose, glutamine, and UTP via the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway. Emerging research indicates that O-GlcNAc signaling and its crosstalk with phosphorylation are altered in metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-555
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Biochemical Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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