Hyaluronan, a macromolecular glycosaminoglycan, is normally synthesized by hyaluronan synthases at the plasma membrane using cytosolic UDP-GlcUA and UDP-GlcNAc substrates and extruding the elongating chain into the extracellular space. The cellular metabolism (synthesis and catabolism) of hyaluronan is dynamic. UDP-GlcNAc is also the substrate for O-GlcNAc transferase, which is central to the control of many cytosolic pathways. This Perspective outlines recent data for regulation of hyaluronan synthesis and catabolism that support a model that hyaluronan metabolism can be a rheostat for controlling an acceptable normal range of cytosolic UDP-GlcNAc concentrations in order to maintain normal cell functions.
Keywords: Hyaluronan; Hyaluronan synthases; O-GlcNAc transferase; UDP-GlcNAc.
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