Indexed on: 19 Jan '08Published on: 19 Jan '08Published in: Nature Chemical Biology
O-GlcNAc glycosylation is a unique, dynamic form of glycosylation found on intracellular proteins of all multicellular organisms. Studies suggest that O-GlcNAc represents a key regulatory modification in the brain, contributing to transcriptional regulation, neuronal communication and neurodegenerative disease. Recently, several new chemical tools have been developed to detect and study the modification, including chemoenzymatic tagging methods, quantitative proteomics strategies and small-molecule inhibitors of O-GlcNAc enzymes. Here we highlight some of the emerging roles for O-GlcNAc in the nervous system and describe how chemical tools have significantly advanced our understanding of the scope, functional significance and cellular dynamics of this modification.