© 2016 Zafir et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. In both preclinical and clinical studies, cell transplantation of several cell types is used to promote repair of damaged organs and tissues. Nevertheless, despite the widespread use of such strategies, there remains little understanding of how the efficacy of cell therapy is regulated. We showed previously that augmentation of a unique, metabolically derived stress signal (i.e., O-GlcNAc) improves survival of cardiac mesenchymal stromal cells; however, it is not known whether enhancing O-GlcNAcylation affects lineage commitment or other aspects of cell competency. In this study, we assessed the role of O-GlcNAc in differentiation of cardiac mesenchymal stromal cells. Exposure of these cells to routine differentiation protocols in culture increased markers of the cardiomyogenic lineage such as Nkx2.5 and connexin 40, and augmented the abundance of transcripts associated with endothelial and fibroblast cell fates. Differentiation significantly decreased the abundance of O-GlcNAcylated proteins. To determine if O-GlcNAc is involved in stromal cell differentiation, O-GlcNAcylation was increased pharmacologically during the differentiation protocol. Although elevated O-GlcNAc levels did not significantly affect fibroblast and endothelial marker expression, acquisition of cardiomyocyte markers was limited. In addition, increasing O-GlcNAcylation further elevated smooth muscle actin expression. In addition to lineage commitment, we also evaluated proliferation and migration, and found that increasing OGlcNAcylation did not significantly affect either; however, we found that O-GlcNAc transferase - the protein responsible for adding O-GlcNAc to proteins - is at least partially required for maintaining cellular proliferative and migratory capacities. We conclude that O-GlcNAcylation contributes significantly to cardiac mesenchymal stromal cell lineage and function. OGlcNAcylation and pathological conditions that may affect O-GlcNAc levels (such as diabetes) should be considered carefully in the context of cardiac cell therapy.