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Exploration of O-GlcNAc-transferase (OGT) glycosylation sites reveals a target sequence compositional bias.

O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) is an essential glycosylating enzyme that catalyzes the addition of N-acetylglucosamine to serine or threonine residues of nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins. The enzyme glycosylates a broad range of peptide sequences and prediction of glycosylation sites has proven challenging. The lack of an experimentally verified set of polypeptide sequences that are not glycosylated by OGT has made prediction of legitimate glycosylation sites more difficult. Here, we tested a number of intrinsically disordered protein regions as substrates of OGT to establish a set of sequences that are not glycosylated by OGT. The negative data set suggests an amino acid compositional bias for OGT targets. This compositional bias was validated by modifying the amino acid composition of the protein Fused in sarcoma (FUS) to enhance glycosylation. NMR experiments demonstrate that the tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) region of OGT can bind FUS and that glycosylation-promoting mutations enhance binding. These results provide evidence that the TPR recognizes disordered segments of substrates with particular compositions to promote glycosylation, providing insight into the broad specificity of OGT.

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