Nutrient-driven O-GlcNAcylation has been linked to epigenetic regulation of gene expression in metazoans. In C. elegans, O-GlcNAc marks the promoters of over 800 developmental, metabolic, and stress-related genes; these O-GlcNAc marked genes show a strong 5′, promoter-proximal bias in the distribution of RNA Polymerase II (Pol II). In response to starvation or feeding, the steady state distribution of O-GlcNAc at promoters remain nearly constant presumably due to dynamic cycling mediated by the transferase OGT-1 and the O-GlcNAcase OGA-1. However, in viable mutants lacking either of these enzymes of O-GlcNAc metabolism, the nutrient-responsive GlcNAcylation of promoters is dramatically altered. Blocked O-GlcNAc cycling leads to a striking nutrient-dependent accumulation of O-GlcNAc on RNA Pol II. O-GlcNAc cycling mutants also show an exaggerated, nutrient-responsive redistribution of promoter-proximal RNA Pol II isoforms and extensive transcriptional deregulation. Our findings suggest a complex interplay between the O-GlcNAc modification at promoters, the kinase-dependent "CTD-code," and co-factors regulating RNA Pol II dynamics. Nutrient-responsive O-GlcNAc cycling may buffer the transcriptional apparatus from dramatic swings in nutrient availability by modulating promoter activity to meet metabolic and developmental needs.
Krause, M. W., Love, D. C., Ghosh, S. K., Wang, P., Yun, S., Fukushige, T., & Hanover, J. A. (2018). Nutrient-driven O-GlcNAcylation at promoters impacts genome-wide RNA Pol II distribution. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 9(SEP). https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2018.00521