Inhibiting O-GlcNAcylation impacts p38 and Erk1/2 signaling and perturbs cardiomyocyte hypertrophy

Kyriakos N. Papanicolaou, Jessica Jung, Deepthi Ashok, Wenxi Zhang, Amir Modaressanavi, Eddie Avila, D. Brian Foster, Natasha E. Zachara, Brian O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dynamic cycling of O-linked GlcNAc (O-GlcNAc) on and off Ser/Thr residues of intracellular proteins, termed O-GlcNAcylation, is mediated by the conserved enzymes O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and O-GlcNAcase. O-GlcNAc cycling is important in homeostatic and stress responses, and its perturbation sensitizes the heart to ischemic and other injuries. Despite considerable progress, many molecular pathways impacted by O-GlcNAcylation in the heart remain unclear. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is a central signaling cascade that coordinates developmental, physiological, and pathological responses in the heart. The developmental or adaptive arm of MAPK signaling is primarily mediated by Erk kinases, while the pathophysiologic arm is mediated by p38 and Jnk kinases. Here, we examine whether O-GlcNAcylation affects MAPK signaling in cardiac myocytes, focusing on Erk1/2 and p38 in basal and hypertrophic conditions induced by phenylephrine. Using metabolic labeling of glycans coupled with alkyne-azide “click” chemistry, we found that Erk1/2 and p38 are O-GlcNAcylated. Supporting the regulation of p38 by O-GlcNAcylation, the OGT inhibitor, OSMI-1, triggers the phosphorylation of p38, an event that involves the NOX2–Ask1–MKK3/6 signaling axis and also the noncanonical activator Tab1. Additionally, OGT inhibition blocks the phenylephrine-induced phosphorylation of Erk1/2. Consistent with perturbed MAPK signaling, OSMI-1–treated cardiomyocytes have a blunted hypertrophic response to phenylephrine, decreased expression of cTnT (key component of the contractile apparatus), and increased expression of maladaptive natriuretic factors Anp and Bnp. Collectively, these studies highlight new roles for O-GlcNAcylation in maintaining a balanced activity of Erk1/2 and p38 MAPKs during hypertrophic growth responses in cardiomyocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102907
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Creb
  • Gata4
  • Hsp27
  • Hsp90
  • MKK3/6
  • OGA
  • OGT
  • OSMI
  • TMG
  • Tab1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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