Nuclear and cytoplasmic glycosylation

Int Rev Cytol. 1998;181:43-74. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(08)60416-7.


O-GlcNAcylation is a form of cytoplasmic and nuclear glycosylation that is found on many diverse proteins of the cell including RNA polymerase II and its associated transcription factors, cytoskeletal proteins, nucleoporins, viral proteins, heat shock proteins, tumor suppressors, and oncogenes. It involves the attachment of a single, unmodified N-acetylglucosaminyl residue O-glycosidically linked to the hydroxyl groups of serine and threonine moieties of proteins. It is a highly abundant and dynamic form of posttranslational modification that appears to modulate function in a manner similar to phosphorylation. All O-GlcNAc-containing proteins are phosphoproteins that are involved in the formation of multimeric complexes, suggesting that O-GlcNAc may play a role in mediating protein-protein interactions. O-GlcNAc sites resemble phosphorylation sites and in many cases the two modifications are mutually exclusive; therefore, O-GlcNAcylation may act as an antagonist of phosphorylation and help to mediate many essential functions of the cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosamine / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Glycosylation
  • Phosphorylation


  • Acetylglucosamine