The early metazoan Trichoplax adhaerens possesses a functional O-GlcNAc system

Nithya Selvan, Daniel Mariappa, Henk W. P. van den Toorn, Albert J. R. Heck, Andrew T. Ferenbach, Daan M. F. van Aalten (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Protein O-GlcNAcylation is a reversible post-translational signalling modification of nucleocytoplasmic proteins that is essential for embryonic development in bilateria. In a search for a reductionist model to study O-GlcNAc signaling, we discovered the presence of functional O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT), O-GlcNAcase (OGA) and nucleocytoplasmic protein O-GlcNAcylation in the most basal extant animal, the placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens. We show via enzymatic characterization of Trichoplax OGT/OGA and genetic rescue experiments in Drosophila melanogaster that these proteins possess activities/functions similar to their bilaterian counterparts. The acquisition of O-GlcNAc signalling by metazoa may have facilitated the rapid and complex signalling mechanisms required for the evolution of multicellular organisms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11969-11982
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
    Early online date16 Mar 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2015


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