Dual functionality of O-GlcNAc transferase is required for Drosophila development

Daniel Mariappa, Xiaowei Zheng, Marianne Schimpl, Olawale Raimi, Andrew T. Ferenbach, H-Arno J Müller, Daan M. F. van Aalten (Lead / Corresponding author)

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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Post-translational modification of intracellular proteins with O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) catalysed by O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) has been linked to regulation of diverse cellular functions. OGT possesses a C-terminal glycosyltransferase catalytic domain and N-terminal tetratricopeptide repeats that are implicated in protein-protein interactions. Drosophila OGT (DmOGT) is encoded by super sex combs (sxc), mutants of which are pupal lethal. However, it is not clear if this phenotype is caused by reduction of O-GlcNAcylation. Here we use a genetic approach to demonstrate that post-pupal Drosophila development can proceed with negligible OGT catalysis, while early embryonic development is OGT activity-dependent. Structural and enzymatic comparison between human OGT (hOGT) and DmOGT informed the rational design of DmOGT point mutants with a range of reduced catalytic activities. Strikingly, a severely hypomorphic OGT mutant complements sxc pupal lethality. However, the hypomorphic OGT mutant-rescued progeny do not produce F2 adults, because a set of Hox genes is de-repressed in F2 embryos, resulting in homeotic phenotypes. Thus, OGT catalytic activity is required up to late pupal stages, while further development proceeds with severely reduced OGT activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150234
Number of pages10
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2015


  • O-GlcNAc
  • O-GlcNAc transferase
  • Drosophila development
  • Hox


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