The dynamic carbohydrate post-translational modification (PTM) O-linked β-N-acetyl glucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is found on thousands of proteins throughout the nucleus and cytoplasm, and rivals phosphorylation in terms of the number of substrates and pathways influenced. O-GlcNAc is highly conserved and essential in most organisms, with disruption of O-GlcNAc cycling linked to diseases ranging from cancer to neurodegeneration. Nuclear pore proteins were the first identified O-GlcNAc-modified substrates, generating intense and ongoing interest in understanding the role of O-GlcNAc cycling in nuclear pore complex structure and function. Recent advances in detecting and altering O-GlcNAcylation levels have provided insights into many mechanisms by which O-GlcNAcylation influences the nucleocytoplasmic localization and stability of protein targets. The emerging view is that the multifunctional enzymes of O-GlcNAc cycling are critical nutrient-sensing components of a complex network of signaling cascades involving multiple PTMs. Furthermore, O-GlcNAc plays a role in maintaining the structural integrity of the nuclear pore and regulating its function as the gatekeeper of nucleocytoplasmic trafficking.

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