O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) modification has been described in many proteins, including nuclear pore glycoproteins. In the present study we investigated the effect of extracellular glucose on the level of modification of nuclear pore protein p62 by O-GlcNAc. We found that exposure of cells to a high concentration of glucose caused an increased level of modification of p62 with O-GlcNAc, whereas the modification of other proteins did not change detectably. The increased O-GlcNAc modification of p62 in response to glucose required the metabolism of glucose to glucosamine. The exposure of the cells to glucosamine itself also caused increased O-GlcNAc modification, whereas mannosamine and galactosamine did not. Furthermore, changes in glucose concentrations within the physiological range induced the O-GlcNAc modification in p62 in rat aortic smooth-muscle cells, indicating that this modification of p62 might occur in an intact animal. These results imply that the ambient glucose concentration has an impact on the level of O-GlcNAc modification of proteins such as p62, and that functional changes in some of these proteins might ensue.

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