Previously, we reported that c-Myc is glycosylated by O-linked N-acetylglucosamine at Thr-58, a known phosphorylation site and a mutational hot spot in lymphomas. In this paper, we describe the production and characterization of two Thr-58 site-specific antibodies and use them to examine the modification of Thr-58 in living cells. One antibody specifically reacts with the Thr-58-glycosylated form of c-Myc, and the other reacts only with unmodified Thr-58 in c-Myc. Using these antibodies together with a commercial anti-Thr-58-phosphorylated c-Myc antibody, we simultaneously detected three forms of c-Myc (Thr-58-unmodified, -phosphorylated, and -glycosylated). It has been reported that Thr-58 phosphorylation is dependent on a prior phosphorylation of Ser-62. Mutagenesis of Ser-62 to Ala showed a marked decrease of Thr-58 phosphorylation and a marked increase of Thr-58 glycosylation. Growth inhibition of HL60 cells by serum starvation increases Thr-58 glycosylation and correspondingly decreases its phosphorylation. Serum stimulation has the opposite effect upon the modification status of Thr-58. A candidate kinase responsible for Thr-58 phosphorylation is the glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3). Lithium, a competitive inhibitor of GSK3, decreased Thr-58 phosphorylation and increased its glycosylation. Finally, we show that the Thr-58-phosphorylated form of c-Myc predominantly accumulates in the cytoplasm rather than the nucleus upon inhibition of proteasome activity. These data suggest that hierarchical phosphorylation of Ser-62 and Thr-58 and alternative glycosylation/phosphorylation of Thr-58 together regulate the myriad functions of c-Myc in cells.
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