Enzymatic O-GlcNAcylation of α-synuclein reduces aggregation and increases SDS-resistant soluble oligomers

Neurosci Lett. 2017 Aug 10:655:90-94. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2017.06.034. Epub 2017 Jul 1.


Neurodegenerative diseases including dementia with Lewy bodies, Lewy body variant of Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease are associated with the aberrant aggregation of α-synuclein, which is influenced by several post-translational modifications (PTMs). O-GlcNAcylation is one PTM that has an important role in many fundamental processes. The O-GlcNAcylation of endogenous α-synuclein at residues 53, 64, 72 and 87 has been reported in an unbiased mass spectrum analysis. The consequences of O-GlcNAcylation at residues 72 or 87 have been studied by using a synthetic α-synuclein bearing O-GlcNAcylation at threonine residue 72 or serine 87, respectively. O-GlcNAcylation at Thr72 or Ser87 suppresses the aggregation of α-synuclein. However, the effect of enzymatic O-GlcNAcylation of α-synuclein at multiple residues is not clear. Here, we successfully generated O-GlcNAcylated α-synuclein by co-expressing a shorter form of OGT (sOGT) with α-synuclein. The O-GlcNAcylation inhibited α-synuclein aggregation and promoted the formation of soluble SDS-resistant and Thioflavine T negative oligomers. Our data warrant further studies on the role of O-GlcNAcylation in the progression/treatment of Parkinson's disease in animal models.

Keywords: Aggregation; O-GlcNAcylation; SDS-resistant oligomers; α-Synuclein.

MeSH terms

  • Benzothiazoles
  • Humans
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases / chemistry*
  • Protein Aggregates
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate / chemistry
  • Solubility
  • Thiazoles / chemistry
  • alpha-Synuclein / chemistry*


  • Benzothiazoles
  • Protein Aggregates
  • Thiazoles
  • alpha-Synuclein
  • thioflavin T
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases
  • O-GlcNAc transferase