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Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) - The split personality of human O-GlcNAc transferase

The NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series, colloquially known as WALS, is the highest-profile lecture program at the NIH. Lectures occur on most Wednesdays from September through June from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10 on the NIH Bethesda campus.

Each season includes some of the biggest names in biomedical and behavioral research. The goal of the WALS is to keep NIH researchers abreast of the latest and most important research in the United States and beyond. An added treat is the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, which features top authors and other cultural icons. All speakers are nominated by the NIH community.

Speaker: Suzanne Walker, Ph.D.

About the lecture:

O-GlcNAc Transferase (OGT) is a glycosyltransferase essential for the viability of most multicellular organisms, including mammals. It catalyzes the attachment of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) to serines and threonines of nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins, resulting in changes in protein localization, stability, and interactions. Protein O-GlcNAc levels are responsive to cellular glucose concentration, and chronically elevated O-GlcNAc levels are observed in both cancer and diabetes and are associated with widespread changes in gene expression. While the importance of OGT in the biology of multicellular organisms is clear, the molecular mechanisms underlying its effects remain poorly understood. Recently, OGT was reported to catalyze another post-translational modification: the cleavage of the essential cell cycle regulator host cell factor 1 (HCF-1). Cleavage is required for proper HCF-1 function.

Dr. Walker’s laboratory has been working on the chemistry of OGT in order to lay the groundwork for exploring its biology. For her lecture, Dr. Walker will talk about her lab’s structural work on OGT and describe what we have learned about the mechanism of O-GlcNAcylation and HCF-1 cleavage. She will also describe the development of cell permeable OGT inhibitors and show how they bind to the enzyme. Finally, she will touch on how her lab’s biochemical studies have provided information that may allow us to address a key question: why is OGT essential for the viability of all dividing mammalian cells?

For further information go to:

Tuesday, April 18

3:00 - 4:00 PM

Building 10, Clinical Center, Masur Auditorium