O-GlcNAcylation, which is a nutrient-sensitive sugar modification, participates in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. The enzymes involved in O-linked β-D-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) cycling - O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and O-GlcNAcase (OGA) - target key transcriptional and epigenetic regulators including RNA polymerase II, histones, histone deacetylase complexes and members of the Polycomb and Trithorax groups. Thus, O-GlcNAc cycling may serve as a homeostatic mechanism linking nutrient availability to higher-order chromatin organization. In response to nutrient availability, O-GlcNAcylation is poised to influence X chromosome inactivation and genetic imprinting, as well as embryonic development. The wide range of physiological functions regulated by O-GlcNAc cycling suggests an unexplored nexus between epigenetic regulation in disease and nutrient availability.