Heart and Circulatory Physiology

O-GlcNAc Signaling is Essential for NFAT-Mediated Transcriptional Reprogramming During Cardiomyocyte Hypertrophy

Heberty T. Facundo, Robert E. Brainard, Lewis J Watson, Gladys A. Ngoh, Tariq Hamid, Sumanth D. Prabhu, Steven P. Jones


The regulation of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy is a complex interplay among many known and unknown processes. One specific pathway involves the phosphatase calcineurin, which regulates nuclear translocation of the essential cardiac hypertrophy transcription factor, Nuclear Factor of Activated T-cells (NFAT). Although metabolic dysregulation is frequently described during cardiac hypertrophy, limited insights exist regarding various accessory pathways. One metabolically derived signal, beta-O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc), has emerged as a highly dynamic post-translational modification of serine and threonine residues regulating physiological and stress processes. Given the metabolic dysregulation during hypertrophy, we hypothesized that NFAT activation is dependent upon O-GlcNAc signaling. Pressure overload-induced hypertrophy (via TAC) in mice or treatment of neonatal rat cardiac myocytes with phenylephrine significantly enhanced global O-GlcNAc signaling. NFAT-luciferase reporter activity revealed O-GlcNAc-dependent NFAT activation during hypertrophy. Reversal of enhanced O-GlcNAc signaling blunted cardiomyocyte NFAT-induced changes during hypertrophy. Taken together, these results demonstrate a critical role of O-GlcNAc signaling in NFAT activation during hypertrophy and provide evidence that O-GlcNAc signaling is coordinated with the onset and progression of cardiac hypertrophy. This represents a potentially significant and novel mechanism of cardiac hypertrophy, which may be of particular interest in future in vivo studies of hypertrophy.

  • hexosamine biosynthetic pathway
  • metabolism
  • cardiac hypertrophy
  • O-GlcNAc