O-GlcNAcylation signal mediates proteasome inhibitor resistance in cancer cells by stabilizing NRF1

Hiroki Sekine, Keito Okazaki, Koichiro Kato, M. Morshedul Alam, Hiroki Shima, Fumiki Katsuoka, Tadayuki Tsujita, Norio Suzuki, Akira Kobayashi, Kazuhiko Igarashi, Masayuki Yamamoto, Hozumi Motohashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer cells often heavily depend on the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) for their growth and survival. Irrespective of their strong dependence on the proteasome activity, cancer cells, except for multiple myeloma, are mostly resistant to proteasome inhibitors. A major cause of this resistance is the proteasome bounce-back response mediated by NRF1, a transcription factor that coordinately activates proteasome subunit genes. To identify new targets for efficient suppression of UPS, we explored, using immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry, the possible existence of nuclear proteins that cooperate with NRF1 and identified O-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT) and host cell factor C1 (HCF-1) as two proteins capable of forming a complex with NRF1. O-GlcNAcylation catalyzed by OGT was essential for NRF1 stabilization and consequent upregulation of proteasome subunit genes. Meta-analysis of breast and colorectal cancers revealed positive correlations in the relative protein abundance of OGT and proteasome subunits. OGT inhibition was effective at sensitizing cancer cells to a proteasome inhibitor both in culture cells and a xenograft mouse model. Since active O-GlcNAcylation is a feature of cancer metabolism, our study has clarified a novel linkage between cancer metabolism and UPS function and added a new regulatory axis to the regulation of the proteasome activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00252-18
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept 1


  • NRF1
  • O-GlcNAcylation
  • OGT
  • Proteasome


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