O-GlcNAcylation mediates metastasis of cholangiocarcinoma through FOXO3 and MAN1A1

Oncogene. 2018 Oct;37(42):5648-5665. doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0366-1. Epub 2018 Jun 18.


The leading cause of death in cancer patients is metastasis, for which an effective treatment is still necessary. During metastasis, cancer cells aberrantly express several glycans that are correlated with poor patient outcome. This study was aimed toward exploring the effects of O-GlcNAcylation on membranous N-glycans that are associated with the progression of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA). Global O-GlcNAcylation in CCA cells was depleted using specific siRNA against O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT), which transfers GlcNAc to the acceptor proteins. Using an HPLC-Chip/Time-of-Flight (Chip/TOF) MS system, the N-glycans associated with O-GlcNAcylation were identified by comparing the membranous N-glycans of siOGT-treated cells with those of scramble siRNA-treated cells. In parallel, the membranous N-glycans of the parental cells (KKU-213 and KKU-214) were compared with those of the highly metastatic cells (KKU-213L5 and KKU-214L5). Together, these data revealed that high mannose (Hex9HexNAc2) and biantennary complex (Hex5HexNAc4Fuc1NeuAc1) N-linked glycans correlated positively with metastasis. We subsequently demonstrate that suppression of O-GlcNAcylation decreased the expression of these two N-glycans, suggesting that O-GlcNAcylation mediates their levels in CCA. In addition, the ability of highly metastatic cells to migrate and invade was reduced by the presence of Pisum Sativum Agglutinin (PSA), a mannose-specific lectin, further indicating the association of high mannose type N-glycans with CCA metastasis. The molecular mechanism of O-GlcNAc-mediated progression of CCA was shown to proceed via a series of signaling events, involving the activation of Akt/Erk (i), an increase in FOXO3 phosphorylation (ii), which results in the reduction of MAN1A1 expression (iii) and thus the accumulation of Hex9HexNAc2 N-glycans (iv). This study demonstrates for the first time the association between O-GlcNAcylation, high mannose type N-glycans, and the progression of CCA metastasis, suggesting a novel therapeutic target for treatment of metastatic CCA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acylation
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / metabolism
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Forkhead Box Protein O3 / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • FOXO3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Box Protein O3
  • LEMD3 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Polysaccharides