O-GlcNAc Transferase Recognizes Protein Substrates Using an Asparagine Ladder in the Tetratricopeptide Repeat (TPR) Superhelix

J Am Chem Soc. 2018 Mar 14;140(10):3510-3513. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b13546. Epub 2018 Mar 5.


The essential mammalian enzyme O-GlcNAc Transferase (OGT) is uniquely responsible for transferring N-acetylglucosamine to over a thousand nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins, yet there is no known consensus sequence and it remains unclear how OGT recognizes its substrates. To address this question, we developed a protein microarray assay that chemoenzymatically labels de novo sites of glycosylation with biotin, allowing us to simultaneously assess OGT activity across >6000 human proteins. With this assay we examined the contribution to substrate selection of a conserved asparagine ladder within the lumen of OGT's superhelical tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain. When five asparagines were mutated, OGT retained significant activity against short peptides, but showed limited limited glycosylation of protein substrates on the microarray. O-GlcNAcylation of protein substrates in cell extracts was also greatly attenuated. We conclude that OGT recognizes the majority of its substrates by binding them to the asparagine ladder in the TPR lumen proximal to the catalytic domain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Asparagine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Protein Array Analysis*
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tetratricopeptide Repeat*


  • Proteins
  • Asparagine
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases
  • O-GlcNAc transferase