Characterization of β-N-acetylglucosaminidase cleavage by caspase-3 during apoptosis

Chutikarn Butkinaree, Win D. Cheung, Sungjin Park, Kyoungsook Park, Megan Barber, Gerald Warren Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


β-O-Linked N-acetylglucosamine is a dynamic post-translational modification involved in protein regulation in a manner similar to phosphorylation. Removal of N-acetylglucosamine is regulated by β-N-acetylglucosaminidase (O-GlcNAcase), which was previously shown to be a substrate of caspase-3 in vitro. Here we show that O-GlcNAcase is cleaved by caspase-3 into two fragments during apoptosis, an N-terminal fragment containing the O-GlcNAcase active site and a C-terminal fragment containing a region with homology to GCN5 histone acetyltransferases. The caspase-3 cleavage site of O-GlcNAcase, mapped by Edman sequencing, is a noncanonical recognition site that occurs after Asp-413 of the SVVD sequence in human O-GlcNAcase. A point mutation, D413A, abrogates cleavage by caspase-3 both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we show that O-GlcNAcase activity is not affected by caspase-3 cleavage because the N- and C-terminal O-GlcNAcase fragments remain associated after the cleavage. Furthermore, when co-expressed simultaneously in the same cell, the N-terminal and C-terminal caspase fragments associate to reconstitute O-GlcNAcase enzymatic activity. These studies support the identification of O-GlcNAcase as a caspase-3 substrate with a novel caspase-3 cleavage site and provide insight about O-GlcNAcase regulation during apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23557-23566
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 29 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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