Glycosylation to Adapt to Stress

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Science  24 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6097, pp. 925-926
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227513

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The metabolism of cancer cells differs from that of nontransformed cells (1), yet the mechanism for regulating metabolic pathways in cancer cells is incompletely understood. On page 975 of this issue, Yi et al. (2) report that modification of the enzyme phosphofructokinase-1 (PFK1) by O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) controls its catalytic activity in cancer cells and affects carbon distribution, redox balance, and tumor formation. Unlike most metabolic changes reported in cancer, this mode of regulation appears to be tumor specific.