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TET2 promotes histone O-GlcNAcylation during gene transcription

Nature volume 493, pages 561564 (24 January 2013) | Download Citation

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Ten eleven translocation (TET) enzymes, including TET1, TET2 and TET3, convert 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine1 and regulate gene transcription2,3,4,5. However, the molecular mechanism by which TET family enzymes regulate gene transcription remains elusive5,6. Using protein affinity purification, here we search for functional partners of TET proteins, and find that TET2 and TET3 associate with O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) transferase (OGT), an enzyme that by itself catalyses the addition of O-GlcNAc onto serine and threonine residues (O-GlcNAcylation) in vivo7,8. TET2 directly interacts with OGT, which is important for the chromatin association of OGT in vivo. Although this specific interaction does not regulate the enzymatic activity of TET2, it facilitates OGT-dependent histone O-GlcNAcylation. Moreover, OGT associates with TET2 at transcription start sites. Downregulation of TET2 reduces the amount of histone 2B Ser 112 GlcNAc marks in vivo, which are associated with gene transcription regulation. Taken together, these results reveal a TET2-dependent O-GlcNAcylation of chromatin. The double epigenetic modifications on both DNA and histones by TET2 and OGT coordinate together for the regulation of gene transcription.

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Change history

  • 23 January 2013

    An additional affiliation was added for author R.J.


Primary accessions

Gene Expression Omnibus

Data deposits

The ChIP-seq and microarray data have been deposited in the Gene Expression Omnibus under accession number GSE41720.


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We thank H. Kuang for proofreading the manuscript and J. Hutchins for research support. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (CA132755 and CA130899 to X.Y.), the University of Michigan Cancer Center and GI Peptide Research Center. X.Y. is a recipient of the Era of Hope Scholar Award from the Department of Defense.

Author information


  1. Division of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, 1150 West Medical Center Drive, 5560A MSRBII, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA

    • Qiang Chen
    • , Yibin Chen
    • , Chunjing Bian
    •  & Xiaochun Yu
  2. Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan

    • Ryoji Fujiki
  3. JST, PRESTO, 4-1-8 Honcho Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan

    • Ryoji Fujiki


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X.Y. conceived the project and designed the experiments; Q.C. performed the experiments with Y.C., C.B. and R.F.; Q.C. and X.Y. analysed the data and wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xiaochun Yu.

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