O-GlcNAcylation of GLI transcription factors in hyperglycemic conditions augments Hedgehog activity

Academic Article


  • Modification of proteins by O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) promotes tumor cell survival, proliferation, epigenetic changes, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis. Here we demonstrate that in conditions of elevated glucose, there is increased expression of key drug resistance proteins (ABCB1, ABCG2, ERCC1, and XRCC1), all of which are regulated by the Hedgehog pathway. In elevated glucose conditions, we determined that the Hedgehog pathway transcription factors, GLI1 and GLI2, are modified by O-GlcNAcylation. This modification functionally enhanced their transcriptional activity. The activity of GLI was enhanced when O-GlcNAcase was inhibited, while inhibiting O-GlcNAc transferase caused a decrease in GLI activity. The metabolic impact of hyperglycemic conditions impinges on maintaining PKM2 in the less active state that facilitates the availability of glycolytic intermediates for biosynthetic pathways. Interestingly, under elevated glucose conditions, PKM2 directly influenced GLI activity. Specifically, abrogating PKM2 expression caused a significant decline in GLI activity and expression of drug resistance proteins. Cumulatively, our results suggest that elevated glucose conditions upregulate chemoresistance through elevated transcriptional activity of the Hedgehog/GLI pathway. Interfering in O-GlcNAcylation of the GLI transcription factors may be a novel target in controlling cancer progression and drug resistance of breast cancer.
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    Author List

  • Das S; Bailey SK; Metge BJ; Hanna A; Hinshaw DC; Mota M; Forero-Torres A; Chatham JC; Samant RS; Shevde LA
  • Start Page

  • 260
  • End Page

  • 270
  • Volume

  • 99
  • Issue

  • 2