There is growing evidence that the sugar N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) plays diverse roles in cell signaling pathways that impact the virulence properties of microbes and host cells. GlcNAc is already well known as a ubiquitous structural component at the cell surface that forms part of bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan, cell wall chitin in fungi and parasites, and extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycans of animal cells. Chitin and peptidoglycan have been previously linked to cell signaling as they can stimulate responses in plant and animal host cells [1–3]. Recent studies now indicate that GlcNAc released from these polymers can also activate cell signaling via several different mechanisms [4–6]. The role of these new GlcNAc signaling pathways in the regulation of virulence factors will be the focus of this review.
Naseem, Shamoon and Konopka, James B., "N-acetylglucosamine Regulates Virulence Properties in Microbial Pathogens" (2015). Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Faculty Publications. 4.