Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

O-GlcNAcylation: a novel pathway contributing to the effects of endothelin in the vasculature

Victor V. Lima, Fernanda R. Giachini, David M. Hardy, R. Clinton Webb, Rita C. Tostes


Glycosylation with O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) or O-GlcNAcylation on serine and threonine residues of nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins is a posttranslational modification that alters the function of numerous proteins important in vascular function, including kinases, phosphatases, transcription factors, and cytoskeletal proteins. O-GlcNAcylation is an innovative way to think about vascular signaling events both in physiological conditions and in disease states. This posttranslational modification interferes with vascular processes, mainly vascular reactivity, in conditions where endothelin-1 (ET-1) levels are augmented (e.g. salt-sensitive hypertension, ischemia/reperfusion, and stroke). ET-1 plays a crucial role in the vascular function of most organ systems, both in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Recognition of ET-1 by the ETA and ETB receptors activates intracellular signaling pathways and cascades that result in rapid and long-term alterations in vascular activity and function. Components of these ET-1-activated signaling pathways (e.g., mitogen-activated protein kinases, protein kinase C, RhoA/Rho kinase) are also targets for O-GlcNAcylation. Recent experimental evidence suggests that ET-1 directly activates O-GlcNAcylation, and this posttranslational modification mediates important vascular effects of the peptide. This review focuses on ET-1-activated signaling pathways that can be modified by O-GlcNAcylation. A brief description of the O-GlcNAcylation biology is presented, and its role on vascular function is addressed. ET-1-induced O-GlcNAcylation and its implications for vascular function are then discussed. Finally, the interplay between O-GlcNAcylation and O-phosphorylation is addressed.

  • endothelin receptor
  • vascular signaling
  • O-GlcNAc modification
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