Morphological changes in diabetic kidney are associated with increased O-GlcNAcylation of cytoskeletal proteins including α-actinin 4

Article (PDF Available)inClinical Proteomics 8(1):15 · September 2011with81 Reads
DOI: 10.1186/1559-0275-8-15 · Source: PubMed
Abstract
ABSTRACT: The objective of the present study is to identify proteins that change in the extent of the modification with O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAcylation) in the kidney from diabetic model Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, and to discuss the relation between O-GlcNAcylation and the pathological condition in diabetes. O-GlcNAcylated proteins were identified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, immunoblotting and peptide mass fingerprinting. The level of O-GlcNAcylation of these proteins was examined by immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting and in situ Proximity Ligation Assay (PLA). O-GlcNAcylated proteins that changed significantly in the degree of O-GlcNAcylation were identified as cytoskeletal proteins (α-actin, α-tubulin, α-actinin 4, myosin) and mitochondrial proteins (ATP synthase β, pyruvate carboxylase). The extent of O-GlcNAcylation of the above proteins increased in the diabetic kidney. Immunofluorescence and in situ PLA studies revealed that the levels of O-GlcNAcylation of actin, α-actinin 4 and myosin were significantly increased in the glomerulus and the proximal tubule of the diabetic kidney. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that immunolabeling of α-actinin 4 is disturbed and increased in the foot process of podocytes of glomerulus and in the microvilli of proximal tubules. These results suggest that changes in the O-GlcNAcylation of cytoskeletal proteins are closely associated with the morphological changes in the podocyte foot processes in the glomerulus and in microvilli of proximal tubules in the diabetic kidney. This is the first report to show that α-actinin 4 is O-GlcNAcylated. α-Actinin 4 will be a good marker protein to examine the relation between O-GlcNAcylation and diabetic nephropathy.
RESEARCH Open Access
Morphological changes in diabetic kidney are
associated with increased O-GlcNAcylation of
cytoskeletal proteins including a-actinin 4
Yoshihiro Akimoto
1*
, Yuri Miura
2
, Tosifusa Toda
2
, Margreet A Wolfert
3
, Lance Wells
3,4,5
, Geert-Jan Boons
3,4
,
Gerald W Hart
6
, Tamao Endo
2
and Hayato Kawakami
1
* Correspondence: yakimoto@ks.
kyorin-u.ac.jp
1
Department of Anatomy, Kyorin
University School of Medicine,
Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8611, Japan
Full list of author information is
available at the end of the article
Abstract
Purpose: The objective of the present study is to identify proteins that change in
the extent of the modification with O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAcylation)
in the kidney from diabetic model Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, and to discuss the relation
between O-GlcNAcylation and the pa thological condition in diabetes.
Methods: O-GlcNAcylated proteins were identified by two-di mensional gel
electrophoresis, immunoblotting and peptide mass fingerprinting. The level of
O-GlcNAcylation of these proteins was examined by immunoprecipitation,
immunoblotting and in situ Proximity Ligation Assay (PLA).
Results: O-GlcNAcylated proteins that changed significantly in the degree of
O-GlcNAcylation were identified as cytoskeletal proteins (a-actin, a-tubulin, a-actinin 4,
myosin) and mitochondrial proteins (ATP synthase b, pyruvate carboxylase). The extent
of O-GlcNAcylation of the above proteins increased in the diabetic kidney.
Immunofluorescence and in situ PLA studies revealed that the levels of O-GlcNAcylation
of actin, a-actinin 4 and myosin were significantly increased in the glomerulus and the
proximal tubule of the diabetic kidney. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed that
immunolabeling of a-actinin 4 is disturbed and increased in the foot process of
podocytes of glomerulus and in the microvilli of proximal tubules.
Conclusion: These results suggest that changes in the O-GlcNAcylation of
cytoskeletal proteins are closely associated with the morphological changes in the
podocyte foot processes in the glomerulus and in microvilli of proximal tubules in
the diabetic kidney. This is the first report to show that a-actinin 4 is O-GlcNAcylated.
a-Actinin 4 will be a good marker protein to examine the relation between O-
GlcNAcylation and diabetic nephropathy.
Keywords: O-GlcNAc modification, Hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, Kidney, Glomeru-
lus, Cytoskeleton, a?α?-actinin, GK Rat, Mass spectrometry, Proximity Ligation Assay
Introduction
O-linked N-acetyl-b-D-glu cosamine, termed O-GlcNAc, is a post-translational modifi-
cation involved in modulation of signaling and transcription in response to cellular
nutrients or stress by interplay with O-phosphorylation [1-3]. O-GlcNAc serves as a
glucose sensor via the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway. Elevated O-GlcNAc modifica-
tion (O-GlcNAcylation) of proteins by increased flux through the hexosamine
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CLINICAL
PROTEOMICS
© 2011 Akimoto et al; licensee BioMed Ce ntral Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution License (http ://creativecommons. org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribut ion, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
biosynthetic pat hway has been implicated in the development of insulin resistance and
diabetic complications and in the up-regulated gene expression of transforming growth
factor-beta1, plasminogen activator inhibitor 1, and upstream stimulatory factor
proteins in mesangial cells, leading to mesangial matrix expansion and diabetic glomer-
ulosclerosis [2,4-9]. We previously demonstrated increased O-GlcNAcylation in the
kidney and pancreas of the Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rat, which is an a nimal model of type
2 diabetes [10,11]. Also, altere d O-GlcNAcylation and O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT)
expression were recently reported in the kidney from diabetic patients [12].
In this study we carried out proteomic analysis, especially focused on the proteins with
remarkable change of the O-GlcNAc level in the kidney from GK rats, and suggested the
potential of O-GlcNAcylation as a biomarker of diabetic nephropathy. Total kidney pro-
teins from Wistar and GK rats were separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis.
O-GlcNAcylated proteins were detected by immunoblotting using anti-O-GlcNAc anti-
body. Selected proteins that changed markedly in their extent of O-GlcNAcylation were
identified by Mass Spectrometry (MS) analysis. MS sequencing of tryptic peptides identi-
fied som e cytoskeletal proteins, including a-tubulin and a-actinin 4. Immunoprecipita-
tion and immuno blot findings demonstrated that O-GlcNAcylation o f these identified
proteins was increased in the diabetic rats. To examine the l ocalization of the i dentified
cytoskeletal proteins, we conducted an immunohistochemical study using confocal scan-
ning microscopy and immuno-electron microscopy. The localization and quantity of
these O-GlcNAcylated proteins were further exam ined by performing the in situ Proxi-
mity Ligation Assay (PLA), which was developed to examine protein-to-protein i nterac -
tion and post-translational modification of proteins [13,14].
Methods
Animals and tissues
Kidney tissues were obtained by dissecting 15-week-old male (n = 3) Wistar rats (as con-
trols) and GK rats, which are a nonobese model of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mel-
litus and had been developed by the selective breading of glucose-intolerant Wistar rats.
Both rats were obtained from CLEA (Tokyo, Japan). All experimenta l procedures using
laboratory animals were approved by the Animal Care a nd Use Committee of Kyorin
University School of Medicine.
Reagents
Rabbit polyclonal anti-a-actinin 4 antibody was obtained from LifeSpan BioSciences
(Seattle, WA). Rabbit polyclonal anti-myosin antibody was obtained from Biomedical
Technologies (Stoug hton, MA). Rabbit mo noclon al anti-actin anti body (clone EP184E)
and rabbit monoclonal anti-a-tubulin antibody (clone EP1332Y) were obtained f rom
Epitomics (Burlingame, CA). Mouse monoclonal anti-O-GlcNAc antibodies
(CTD110.6, 18B10.C7 [3]) were used. The generation of CTD110.6, 18B10.C7(3) was
previously described [15,16].
Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) and immunoblotting
Protein extraction and 2D-PAGE were performed as previously reported [17-19]. Three
nondiabetic and 3 diabetic rat kidneys were used simultaneously from prot ein extrac-
tion to gel matching. Five-hundred micrograms of total protein prepared from normal
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and diabetic kidneys was loaded onto the gel for isoelectric focusing, which was per-
formed by using pre-cast immobilized pH gradient (IPG) strips (18 cm long, pH4-7,
GE Healthcare Science). After equilibration in reducing solution and then in alkylating
solution, second-dimensional gel electrophoresis was performed by 10% SDS-PAGE.
Separated protein spots on polyacrylamide gels were electroblotted onto PVDF mem-
branes. Then total protein spots were stained with BODIPY FL-X (Invitrogen). The
membranes were first blocked for 1 h at room temperature with 0.3% BSA in TBS-T
and then incubated with mouse monoclonal anti-O-GlcNAc antibody (CTD 110.6,
Covance) at a dilution of 1:5,000 for 1 hr at room temperature, followed by incubation
with biotin-goat anti mouse IgM (Vector) at a dilution of 1:2,000 and then Qdot 625-
conjugated streptavidin (Invitrogen) at a dilution of 1:2,000, each for 1 hr at room
temperature. The total spots and immunoreactive spots were scanned by using a Mole-
cular Imager FX laser scanning fluorome ter (BioRad Laboratories, Hercules, CA). The
intensities of spots were analyzed by using PDQuest software ver.8.0 (BioRad Lab).
The search for protein spots whose O -GlcNAcylation had changed in the GK sample
was performed as d escr ibed pr eviously [17]. The abu ndance of spots was presented as
parts per million of the total spots integrated by using the total quant ity in analysis
set feature of the PDQ uest software. When the abundance of spots on 2D gels of dia-
betic kidneys was > 2-fold or less than 0.5-fold compared with that for the control
nondiabetic kid neys, we regarded the spots as prot ein s with a changed O-GlcNAcyla-
tion level.
In-gel protein digestion and peptide mass fingerprinting
The selected spots were cut from the second dimensional gel stained with SYPRO-
Ruby. In-gel protein digestion of selected gel spots was performed according to the
protocol described http://www.proteome.jp/2D/2DE_method.html[18]. Peptide-mass
fingerprinting data were ac quired by using a MALDI-TOF-MS spectrometer (AXIMA-
CFR, Shimazu Biotech). Proteins were identified with the Mascot search engine (Matrix
Science, London, UK) search algorithms by using the Swiss-Prot pr otein data bases
(Version 57.6).
Immunoprecipitation, immuno-blotting and immunohistochemical study of actin, a-
actinin 4, a-tubulin, and myosin
Immunoprecipitation, immuno-blot analysis and immunohistochemical study were car-
ried out as described previously [11].
In situ PLA analysis
In situ PLA analysis was performed according to the manufacturers instr uctions with
an HRP/NovaRed detection kit from Olink Bioscience (Uppsala, Sweden) [20]. Cryostat
sections of kidney were cut a nd placed onto MAS-coated slides (Matsunami Glass,
Tokyo, Japan). The slides were then incubated at 6 0°C in LAB solution for 5 min.
These antigen-retrieved tissues were next washed with PBS, incubated for 15 min in
15 ml/L hydrogen peroxide in PBS, washed, and blocked with 1% BSA-PBS. For the in
situ ligation assay, we used mouse mon oclonal anti- O-GlcNAc antibodies (clone:
18B10.C7 [3]). The sections were incubated with this mouse anti-O-GlcNAc antibody
in combination with rabbit anti-actin, anti-a-actinin 4, anti-a -tubulin or anti-myosin
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antibody overnight at 4°C. After having been washed with TBS-0.1% Tween20 (TBS-T),
the sections were incubated with a mixture of MINUS secondary PLA probe against
mouse immunoglobulins and PLUS secondary PLA probe against rabbit immunoglobu-
lins for 1 h at 37°C. Then they were washed wi th TBS-T, and subsequent ly incubated
in hybridization solution for 15 min at 37°C and washed with TBS-T once for 1 min.
The slides were next incubated w ith the ligation mix for 30 min at 37°C and washed
with TBS-T twice for 1 min each time. Then the sections were incubated wit h the
amplification mix for 90 min at 37°C and washed 3 times for 5 min each time with
TBS-T. The slides were thereafter incubated with the HRP-labeled hybridization probe
for 30 min at room temperature. After 2 washes with TBS for 2 min each time, the
slides were incubated w ith DAB staining mix for 5 min and then washed with water.
Nuclei were stained with hematoxyline. The slides were examined with a bright-field
microscope equipped with a CCD camera Pro600ES (Pixera, San Jose, CA). In the
negative controls in which the primary antibodies had bee n replaced with normal ra b-
bit IgG and normal mouse IgG or omitted, signals were scarcely observed (data not
shown). Signals were quantified with BlobFinder Bright software, which is availabl e on
BlobFinder Website http://www.cb.uu.se/~amin/BlobFinder/[20].
Statistics
Data were compiled from 3 independent experiments. Students t-test was used for sta-
tistical analysis, and for all cases P < 0.05 was considered to i ndicate statistical
significance.
Results
Identification of O-GlcNAcylated proteins in normal and diabetic kidneys
To identify O-GlcNAcylated proteins, we employed two-dimensional electrophoresis
and immunoblotting using the CTD110.6 anti- O-Gl cNAc antibody. Total proteins of
diabetic GK rat kidney or nondiabetic Wistar rat kidney were electrophoresed on a
two-dimensional gel. Approximately 1,000 prote in spots were detected in each SYPRO
Ruby-stained gel (Figure 1A, B). Approximately 100 protein spots were detected in
each Qdot 625-stained PVDF membrane (Figure 1C, D). The immunofluorescence
intensity of each spot was quantified a nd compared between the non diabetic kidney
and the diabetic one. This comparison revealed enhanced O-GlcNAcylation in many
proteins from the diabetic kidney (Figure 1C-P). Twenty-seven spots that indicated a
significant difference in the relative quantity of O-GlcNAcylated protein were applied
to MALDI-TOF MS for identification of the proteins. The ident ified proteins included
various cytoskeletal proteins (a-tubulin, a-actinin 4, myosin, actin) and m itochond rial
proteins (A TP synthase b pyruvate carboxylase), whic h were te mporarily referred to as
spots a"-"f (Figure 1, Table 1). The intensity of these spots increased in the diabetic
kidneys (Table 1). Almost the same results were obtained among the 3 GK rats as well
as the 3 control rats. These proteins except for a-actinin 4 have already been repor ted
to be O-GlcNAcylated.
In the next step we focused on the cytoskeletal proteins, as they play important roles
in maintaining the morphology of kidney tissue. To further confirm that actin, a-acti-
nin 4, myosin, and a-tubulin were substantially O-GlcNAcylated and to examine both
the protein level and the level of O-GlcNAcylation of these proteins in the diabetic
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Figure 1 Comparison of total protein map and O-GlcNAcylation map of kidney between
nondiabetes and diabetes. (A, B) Representative total protein map of 2D PAGE for nondiabetic (A) and
diabetic (B) rat kidneys detected by SYPRO-Ruby. (C, D) Typical O-GlcNAcylated protein map of 2D PAGE
for nondiabetic (C) and diabetic (D) rat kidneys detected by O-GlcNAc antibody. Spots indicated by arrows
represent the identified proteins that had changed in terms of O-GlcNAc level. (E-L) Regions around spots
a,”“b,”“c,”“d,”“e, and f in the maps C and D are enlarged to facilitate the identification of each spot,
indicated by arrows, in the non-diabetic (E, G, I, K, M, O) and diabetic (F, H, J, L, N, P) kidneys.
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Table 1 Proteins showing an increase in the O-GlcNAcylation level in the diabetic kidney
Spot Protein Theoretical mass (kDa)/pI Score
(a)
Peptides Peptides
matched
(a)
Fold change
b)
Sequence
searched Wistar(control) GK Coverage (%)
a Actin 42.1/5.29 70 20 8 1 2.15 22
b a-actinin 4 105.0/5.27 118 40 17 1 2.05 21
c myosin heavy chain 222.5/5.69 54 18 12 1 2.22 9
d a-tubulin 50.6/4.95 59 51 9 1 2.75 33
e ATP-synthase b 56.3/5.19 62 27 9 ND
c)
d)
23
f pyruvate carboxylase 130.4/6.34 73 30 14 1 4.32 16
Spots a-f correspond to those shown in Figure 1.
a)
Values of score and peptides matched were determined according to the Mascot search engine on the Swiss-Prot web server (Database: SwissProt 57.6).
b)
Fold changes were calculated by using the mean values for the spots of diabetic GK rat kidney relative to those of normal control Wistar rat kidney, which are indicated as 1.
c)
ND: not detected.
d)
Up-arrow: This O-GlcNAcylated spot appeared only in the diabetic kidney.
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kidney, we performed immunoprecipitation using antibodies against these proteins and
compared relative protein expression and O-GlcNAcylation by immunoblotting using
anti-protein or anti-O-GlcNAc, respectively. As shown in Figure 2, the level of these
proteins did not chan ge except in the case of a-actinin 4, whose level increased in the
diabetic kidney. In contrast, the O-GlcNAcylation level of each protein from the dia-
betic kidney relative to that of each fr om the nondiabetic one was significantly higher
(Figure 2). There might be other proteins in the immunoprecipitants which interacted
with or bound to the target proteins. If such proteins were present, it is important to
Figure 2 Anal ysi s o f O-GlcNAcylation level of cytoskeletal p roteins by immunoprecipitation and
immunoblotting. Total lysates of nondiabetic and diabetic kidneys were immunoprecipitated with anti-
actin (A), anti-a-actinin 4 (B), anti-a-tubulin antibody (C) or anti-myosin (D). The immunocomplexes were
separated by SDS-PAGE, transferred to PVDF membranes, and probed with O-GlcNAc antibody (a, upper
panel). The membrane was then stripped and reprobed with the antibody used for immunoprecipitation
(a, lower panel). Results shown are representative of 3 independent experiments. Intensity of bands
recognized by the antibody used for immunoprecipitation was quantified by scanning densitometry (b).
Relative intensities of the O-GlcNAc reactive bands to bands reactive with each antibody used for
immunoprecipitation were then determined (c). Data are the means ± SEM from 3 different rats. (), Wistar
rats; (), GK rats. *P < 0.05 and **p < 0.01 vs. control Wistar rat.
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determine the expression level and the O-GlcNAcylation level of these protei ns
between the diabetic and nondiabetic kidney in the future.
Immunohistochemical study on cytoskeletal proteins
To examine t he localization of the identified cytoskeletal proteins (actin, a-actinin 4,
a-tubulin, and myosin), we carried out immunohistochemical analyses of the glomeruli
and proximal tubules (Figure 3).
The intensity of immunoreactivity for actin in the glomerulus from the diabetic kid-
ney was increased, e specially in its mesangial cells and podocytes (Figure 3B). This
result is consistent with an earlier study o n the GK rat [21]. The immunoreactivity
against actin was al so detected in t he brush border i n the proximal tubules. However,
its intensity did not change in the diabetic kidney (Figure 3B)
The immunofluorescence indicating a-actinin 4 was observed as a linear pattern
around the lumen of the glomerular capillary, and its intensity in the glomerulus was
Figure 3 Immunohistochemical analysis of cytoskeletal proteins by c onfocal las er scanning
microscope. Localization of actin, a-actinin 4, myosin, and a-tubulin in glomeruli (1) and tubules (2). 1)
Although the intensity of immunoreactivity of a-tubulin did not change, that of immunoreactivity of actin, a-
actinin 4 and myosin was increased in the diabetic glomerulus. 2) Whereas the intensity of immunoreactivity of
actin and myosin did not change, that of immunoreactive a-actinin 4 was increased and that of
immunoreactive a-tubulin were decreased in the diabetic tubules. Scale bars, 1)-A, 50 μm, 2)-A, 20 μm.
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increased in the diabetic kidney (Figure 3D). a-Actinin 4 was also localized in the
brush border area at the luminal side of tubules, and the immunoreactivity was greater
in the sections from the diabetic kidney (Figure 3D).
In the glomerulus the immunoreactivity of a-tubulin was weak and did not change
in the section from the diabetic kidney (Figure 3F). In the sections showing
the proximal tubules of the nondiabetic kidney, a striated immunoreactivity pattern
was observed; whereas a diffuse one was noted in the case of the diabetic kidney
(Figure 3F).
Whereas weak immunofluorescence was observed in the glomerulus from the normal
kidney (Figure 3-1G), intense immunoreactivity was observed in that from the diabetic
kidney (Figure 1C-P). Myosin immu noreactivity was also observed in the brush border
area of the proximal tubules in sections from both normal and diabetic kidneys, but no
difference in intensity was observed between n ormal and diabetic proximal tubules
(Figure 3H).
Immuno-electron microscopy of a-actinin 4
Because a-actinin 4 has been identified as the causal gene for familial focal segmental glo-
merulosclerosis and is considered to play an important role in the maintenance of podo-
cyte morphology [22,23], we further examined the precise localizatio n of a-actinin 4 in
the glomerulus and tubules by performing immuno-electron microscopy.
As we had reported previously [10], in the diabetic kidney of the GK rat thickened
basement membranes of the capillaries in the glomerulus and fused foot processes of
podocytes were observed (Figure 4A, B). Immuno-electron microscopy revealed that in
the normal kidney the immunogold particles labeling a-actinin 4 were localized in the
cortical area of foot processes of podocy tes except beneath the b asal plasma membrane
(Figure 4C) but that the localization was different in the diabetic kidney; i.e., a-actinin 4
was distri buted not only in the cortical area but also in the inner a rea of foot processes
(Figure 4D), and the number of immuno-gold particles was greater in the sections from
the diabetic kidney (Figure 4E).
Microvilli at the luminal side of proximal tubules from the diabetic GK rats were occa-
sionally swollen and had become bulbous, whereas those from the non-diabetic Wistar
rats were regularly shaped and closely packed (Figure 5 A, B). Immuno-electron micr o-
scopy of sections from t he diabetic kidney revealed that colloidal gol d particles labe ling
a-actinin 4 were localized along the full length of the microvilli of proximal tubules o f
diabetic kidney, whereas in those from the normal kidney the particles tended to b e
localized near the bottom of t he microvilli (Figure 5C, D). The colloidal gold particle
density indicating a-act inin 4 in the microvilli was i ncreased signi ficantly in the sections
from the diabetic kidney (Figure 5E). The gold label was al so observed in the adherence
junctions of proximal tubule cells (Figure 5F, G), but no signif icant differenc e i n the
labeling density or localization of a-actinin 4 in these junctions was observed between
normal and diabetic kidney sections.
In situ proximity ligation assay of O-GlcNAcylated cytoskeletal proteins
O-G lcNAcylation of proteins is a common type of posttranslational modification. T he
in situ PLA was developed to image protein-to-protein interactions and posttransla-
tional modifications in cells and tissues [13,14]. Using this in assay, we examined the
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localization of O-GlcNAcylated cytoskeletal proteins (actin, a-actinin4, a-tubu lin, a nd
myosin) and quantified their signals.
Signals of O-GlcNAcylated-actin, a-actinin 4, a-tubulin, and myosin were observed
in the glomerulus (Figure 6-1) and tubules (Figure 6-2) in sections of normal kidney.
The number of signals of all these O-GlcNAcylated-proteins was significantly increased
Figure 4 Morphological change of foot processes of podocytes in glomerulus is correlated with the
change of a-actinin 4. Electron microscopic appearance of glomerular capillary (A, B) and immuno-
electron microscopic localization of a-actinin 4 in glomerular capillaries (C, D). (A, B) Comparison of
electron micrographs of the capillary wall of the glomerulus from nondiabetic (A) and diabetic (B) kidneys
revealed fused foot processes of podocytes and a thickened basement membrane in the sections from the
diabetic rat. En, endothelial cell; GBM, glomerular basement membrane; P, foot process of podocyte. Scale
bar, 200 nm. (C, D) Sections of nondiabetic and diabetic kidneys were immunolabeled for a-actinin 4 (12-
nm gold particles). Whereas the gold particles were localized mainly in the periphery of the foot processes
in the nondiabetic kidney, they were found not only in the periphery but also in the inner aspect of foot
processes in the diabetic kidney. (E) Density (number/μm
2
) of colloidal gold particles representing a-actinin
4 in the foot processes of podocytes from nondiabetic (open bar) and diabetic (closed bar) kidneys. Data
are the means ± SEM from 3 different rats. *P < 0.01 vs. control (Wistar rat).
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in both the glomeruli and tubules in sections of the diabet ic kidney (Figure,6-1, -2). In
the diabetic kidney sections, the signals of O-GlcNAcylated a-actinin 4 were incr eased
especially in the podocyt es of t he glomeruli (Figure 6-1D). The localizations of O-
GlcNAcylated actin, a-actinin 4, and myosin shown by in si tu PLA wer e almos t the
same as those observed in the conventional immunohistochemical study (Figure 3).
Figure 5 Morphological change of microvilli in proximal tubule is correlated with the change of a-
actinin 4. Electron microscopic appearance of microvilli of the tubules (A, B) and immuno-electron
microscopic localization of a-actinin 4 in microvilli (C, D) and in the adherins junction (F, G) of tubules. (A,
B) Comparison of electron micrographs of proximal tubules from nondiabetic rat (A) and diabetic rat (B)
revealed that microvilli of the diabetic rat were swollen and had become bulbous, whereas those of the
Wistar rat were regularly shaped. (C, D, F, G) Sections of nondiabetic and diabetic kidneys were
immunolabeled for a-actinin 4 (12-nm gold particles). Whereas only a few gold particles were localized in
the microvilli of proximal tubules in the nondiabetic kidney, many gold particles were detected in the
microvilli of proximal tubules in the diabetic kidney (C, D). (E) Density (number/μm
2
) of colloidal gold
particles representing a-actinin 4 in the microvilli from nondiabetic (open bar) diabetic kidney (closed bar)
kidneys. Data are the means ± SEM from 3 different rats. *P < 0.01 vs. control (Wistar rat). (F, G) The
colloidal gold labels indicating a-actinin 4 were also observed in the adherins junction of proximal tubules
of both nondiabetic (F) and diabetic (G) kidneys. Scale bars: 200 nm (A, C) and 100 nm (F).
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However, with respect to the O-GlcNAcyl ated a- tubulin, the striated signal pattern in
the normal kidney revealed by the conventional immunohistochemistry (Figure 3-2E)
was not observed (Figur e 6-2E); rather, th e signals were diffusely distributed in the
tubules in sections of normal and diabetic kidney (Figure 3F). This observation indi-
cates that polymerized tubulin may not be O-GlcNAcylated.
Discussion
In this study using proteomic analysis, we identified several O-GlcNAcylated proteins
including c ytoskeletal proteins, actin, a-actinin 4, a-tubulin, and myosin and we
demonstrated that their extent of O-GlcNAcylation was elevated in the diabetic kidney.
For the first time, in situ PLA studies demonstrated the localization of O-GlcNAcylated
cytoskeletal proteins and confirmed their increase in O-GlcNAcylation.
Actin is an importan t cytoskeletal protein and is O-GlcNAcylated [24]. O -GlcNAcyla-
tion of actin may modulate the actin-tropomyosin interaction and be involved in the poly-
merization of myosin heavy chains [24]. High glucose alters protein kinase C-dependent
actin assembly in both cultured glomerular mesangial cells and podocytes [25]. Mapping
of O-GlcNAcylation sites revealed that the Ser
201
residue of actin is both O-GlcNAcylated
Figure 6 Analy sis of O-GlcNAcylated cytoskeletal proteins by using the in situ PLA assay.
Localization of O-GlcNAcylated actin (A, B), O-GlcNAcylated a-actinin 4 (C, D), O-GlcNAcylated a-tubulin (E,
F) and O-GlcNAcylated myosin (G, H) in the glomerulus (1) and tubule (2) of normal (A, C, E, G) and
diabetic (B, D, F, H) rats. Arrows in D indicate podocytes. I-L) Relative number of signals per cell. Ten
different glomeruli and tubules were obtained from each sample. Signals were analyzed by Blob-Finder
software. Values represent means ± SEM from 3 different rats. *P < 0.05 vs. control Wistar rat (W).
Akimoto et al. Clinical Proteomics 2011, 8:15
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Page 12 of 16
and phosphorylated (Table 2) [26,27]. The increased O-GlcNAcylation of actin may cause
the abnormal assembly of the cytoskeleton, which might have led to the morphological
changes in the foot processes and microtubules in the diabetic kidney. It is important to
note that if even a small percentage of actin monomers were O-GlcNAcylated at a key site
regulating filament assembly, this could significantly alter polymerization of the actin
network.
The second O-GlcNAcylated protein that we identified was a-actinin 4. This is the
first report to show that a-actinin 4 is O-Gl cNAcylated. a-acti nin 4 is thought to play
an important role in the maintenan ce of morphology of podocytes by cross-linking
with the cortical actin network, which serves as an ancho r for a variety of intracellular
stru ctures [28,29]. a-actinin 4 is also involved in the bundling of F-actin an d vesicular
trafficking and has also been identified as the causal gene for familial focal segmental
glomerulosclerosis [22]. The present results suggest that abnormal O-GlcNAcylation of
a-actinin 4 and actin may affect the crosslinking to actin and cause the morphological
changes seen in the podocyte foot processes in the glomeruli and in the microvilli of
tubules. a-Actinin 4 is reported to be phosphorylated at its Tyr/Ser/Thr residues
[27,30], but the O-GlcNAcylation sites have not been reported yet. The predicted O-
GlcNAcylation sites Ser
262
and Ser
269
are located near the phosphorylation site Tyr
265
,
where the phosphoryla tion at this site regulates the interac tion of a-actinin 4 with
actin and a lters its intracellular location and conformation (Table 2) [31]. Further
study remains to be done to clarify the precise O-GlcNAcylation sites of a-actinin 4
and their role in the normal and diabetic kidneys.
a-Tubulin is a component of microtubules, which are involved in reabsorptio n of
substances in kidney tubules via the transport of vesicles from the luminal surface to
the basal surface of t he tubules. It w as reported that O-GlcNAcylation of miro and
milton (OIP106 and GRIF-1) plays a crucial role in the transportation of vesicles and
mitochondria via microtubules [32]. The present in situ PLA study showed that the O-
GlcNAcylation o f a-tubulin was increased in both the glomerulus and tubule. It has
bee n reported that a-tubulin is O-GlcNAcylated [33] and phosphorylated [34-36], but
the O-GlcNAcylation sites in it have not been determined yet. Thr
271
residue, one of
the predicted O-GlcNAcylation sites, is located next to the phosphorylation sites
Tyr
272
(Table 2). By inhibiting the phosphorylation of Tyr
272
, O-GlcNAcylation of
Thr
271
may regulate microtubule formation and/or interaction with ligands, such as
tau, microtubule-associated proteins 1, 2 (MAPs-1, 2), which are also O-GlcNAcylated.
Table 2 Comparison between phosphorylation sites and O-GlcNAcylation sites
Protein Phosphorylation sites O-GlcNAcylation sites
actin S35, S201
27
S54, S157, S201, S234, S370
26
a-actinin 4 Y265, S423, S621, K625, T667
27, 30
S262, S269, T612, S613, S656*
a-tubulin Y103, Y224, S232, Y272, T334
35, 36
S6, S158, S178, T271, S419**
myosin
heavy
chain
Y389, Y410, S949, S1038, Y1375
Y1415, Y1852, S1956, T1960
39, 40
S172, S179, S196, S392, S622, S626, S643, S644, S749, S880,
S1038, S1102, S1148, S1159, S1189, S1200, S1299, S1308,
S1336, S1470, S1471, S1596, S1597, S1600, S1606, S1710,
S1711, S1777, S1916
26
Boldface type indicates the site at which O-GlcNAcylation and O-phosphorylation compete or their respective sites that
are close to each other.
* Predicted by YinOYang1.2 prediction server http://www.cbs.dtu.dk/services/YinOYang/
* * Predicted by dbOGAP prediction server https://cbsb.lombardi.georgetown.edu/OGAP.html
Akimoto et al. Clinical Proteomics 2011, 8:15
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Page 13 of 16
Recently it was demonstrated that O-GlcNAcylation of tubulin inhibits its polymeriza-
tion and negatively regulates microtubule formation [37]. The present results suggest
that the reabsorption of certain substances in the proximal tubules by transportation
via microtubules may be hampered as polymerization of tubulin is inhibited by its
abnormal O-GlcNAcylation.
Myosin is another important cytoskeletal p rotein, and it is also O-GlcNAcylated
[24,38]. In situ PLA revealed that the O-GlcNAcylation of myosin was increased in
both glomeruli and tubules, where myosin plays an imp ortant ro le in the maintenance
of the morphology of glomeru lar cells and microvilli of tubules. Mapping of O-GlcNA-
cylation sites revealed that Ser
1038
residue is O-GlcNAcylated(Table2)[26]andthis
same residue has al so been shown to be phosphorylated (Table 2) [39,40] . The role of
O-GlcNAcylation and phosphorylation of Ser
1038
residue remains to be clarified.
In conclusion these results suggest that in thediabetickidneythemorphological
changes in the glomerulus and tubules may be ascribed to the abnormal O-GlcNAcylation
of cytoskeletal proteins including a-actinin 4, which O-GlcNAcylation is induced by
hyperglycemia-enhanced flux through the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway. a-Actinin 4
will be a good maker to examine the relation between O-GlcNAcylation and diabetic
nephropathy. In situ PLA method could be used for the clinical diagnosis to localize the
O-GlcNAcylated proteins and quantify them when the antibody against O-GlcNAcylated
protein is not available. Further studies need to be carried out to clarify the roles of
O-GlcNAcylation of cytoskeletal proteins in the maintenance of cell morphology and the
relationships between O-GlcNAcylation of proteins and the etiology of diabetes complica-
tions by the glycomic approaches [41].
List of Abbreviations
O-GlcNAc: O-linked N-acetylglucosamine; O-GlcNAcylation: modification of proteins by O-GlcNAc; PLA: in situ proximity
ligation assay; GK rat: Goto-Kakizaki rat; OGT: O-GlcNAc transferase; MS: Mass Spectrometry; LAB solution: liberate
antibody binding solution; TBS-T: Tris-buffered saline-0.1% Tween 20; MAPs-1, 2: microtubule-associated proteins 1, 2.
Acknowledgements
The authors thank Ms. Sachie Matubara, Ms. Miki Kanai, Ms. Tomoko Miura and Ms. Sayuri Koroishi (Laboratory for
Electron Microscopy and Department of Anatomy, Kyorin University School of Medicine) for technical assistance.
This study was supported in part by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japanese Ministry of Education,
Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (C-20590198 to YA), from Japan Diabetes Foundation (to YA), from the Kazato
Research Foundation (to YA), from Kyorin University School of Medicine, Kyorin Medical Research Award 2010 (to YA)
and by NIH R01 DK61671 (to GWH).
Author details
1
Department of Anatomy, Kyorin University School of Medicine, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8611, Japan.
2
Research Team for
Mechanism of Aging, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Itabashi, Tokyo 173-0015, Japan.
3
Complex
Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.
4
Department of Chemistry, University of
Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.
5
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens,
GA 30602, USA.
6
Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
21205, USA.
Authors contributions
YA performed all experiments, contributed to discussion, and drafted the manuscript. YM, TT and TE performed MS,
analyzed data, contributed to discussion and edited the manuscript. HK contributed to discussion and edited the
manuscript. MAW, LW, GJB contributed to antibodies and discussion. GWH contributed to discussion, and reviewed
and edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflicts of interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Received: 2 September 2011 Accepted: 21 September 2011 Published: 21 September 2011
Akimoto et al. Clinical Proteomics 2011, 8:15
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Page 14 of 16
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doi:10.1186/1559-0275-8-15
Cite this article as: Akimoto et al.: Morphological changes in diabetic kidney are associated with increased O-
GlcNAcylation of cytoskeletal proteins includ ing a-actinin 4. Clinical Proteomics 2011 8:15.
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    • "For instance, in diabetic rats, we have recently shown distended proximal tubules, with thinner walls and reduced brush borders, before any changes in glomerular morphology [17] (Figure 1). This was also observed by others [18,19], and electron microscopy has shown swollen and bulbous microvilli in diabetic nephropathy [20]. Furthermore, thickening of proximal tubular basement membrane was also reported [21]. "
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
    • "However, reports related to non-obese T2DM and cholesterol effect are lim- ited [6]. T2DM is a heterogeneous group of diseases that is progressive and involves multiple tissues especially pancreas [3, 4, 13], kidney [14, 15], liver [16], retina [17], intestine [18], heart [19], and skeletal muscle [20]. Interestingly, the Harderian gland of the rodent, sand rat (Psammomys obesus), known as a model for obese diabetes mellitus is histological affected by the diabetic syndrome212223 . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To understand the relationship among cholesterolemia, hyperglycemic stage in non obese type 2 diabetes mellitus, and histological perturbations on liver, retina, hippocampus, and Harderian gland, we maintained rat on a diet high in cholesterol for fourteen weeks, then analyzed blood lipid profiles, blood glucose, hepatic enzymes, and microscopic lesion of those tissues. We observed that high cholesterol-treated rat elevated in cholesterol and low density lipoprotein with not correlated to hyperglycemia. Histopathological changing in Goto-Kakizaki rat on liver (microvesicular steatosis) and Harderain gland (tubular lesions) were related to hyperglycemic effect rather than cholesterolemic effect. These may be related to hypoinsulinemic characteristic of this diabetic model. However increasing pyknotic nuclei on hippocampus and reducing of retinal ganglionic cell were related to the high level of cholesterol loaded with synergized effect due to diabetic stage.
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: O-Linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) is a reversible, post-translational, and regulatory modification of nuclear, mitochondrial, and cytoplasmic proteins that is responsive to cellular stress. The role of O-GlcNAcylation in the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM)-mediated DNA damage response is unknown. It is unclear whether ATM, which is an early acting and central component of the signal transduction system activated by DNA double strand breaks, is an O-GlcNAc-modified protein. The effect of O-GlcNAc modification on ATM activation was examined using two inhibitors, PUGNAc and DON that increase and decrease, respectively, levels of protein O-GlcNAcylation. To assess O-GlcNAcylation of ATM, immunoprecipitation and immunoblot analyses using anti-ATM or anti-O-GlcNAc antibody were performed in HeLa cells and primary cultured neurons. Interaction of ATM with O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT), the enzyme that adds O-GlcNAc to target proteins, was examined by immunoprecipitation and immunoblot analyses using anti-ATM. Enhancement of protein O-GlcNAcylation increased levels of X-irradiation-induced ATM activation. However, decreases in protein O-GlcNAcylation did not affect levels of ATM activation, but these decreases did delay ATM activation and ATM recovery processes based on assessment of de-phosphorylation of phospho-ATM. Thus, activation and recovery of ATM were affected by O-GlcNAcylation. ATM was subjected to O-GlcNAcylation, and ATM interacted with OGT. The steady-state O-GlcNAc level of ATM was not significantly responsive to X-irradiation or oxidative stress. ATM is an O-GlcNAc modified protein, and dynamic O-GlcNAc modification affects the ATM-mediated DNA damage response.
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