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Role of 6-O-Sulfated Heparan Sulfate in Chronic Renal Fibrosis

Lookup NU author(s): Julia Spielhofer, Emeritus Professor John Kirby, Professor Simi Ali


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Heparan sulfate (HS) plays a crucial role in the fibrosis associated with chronic allograft dysfunction by binding and presenting cytokines and growth factors to their receptors. These interactions critically depend on the distribution of 6-O-sulfated glucosamine residues, which is generated by glucosaminyl-6-O-sulfotransferases (HS6STs) and selectively removed by cell surface HS-6-O-endosulfatases (SULFs). Using human renal allografts we found increased expression of 6-O-sulfated HS domains in tubular epithelial cells during chronic rejection as compared with the controls. Stimulation of renal epithelial cells with TGF-beta induced SULF2 expression. To examine the role of 6-O-sulfated HS in the development of fibrosis, we generated stable HS6ST1 and SULF2 overexpressing renal epithelial cells. Compared with mock transfectants, the HS6ST1 transfectants showed significantly increased binding of FGF2 (p = 0.0086) and pERK activation. HS6ST1 transfectants displayed a relative increase in mono-6-O-sulfated disaccharides accompanied by a decrease in iduronic acid 2-O-sulfated disaccharide structures. In contrast, SULF2 transfectants showed significantly reduced FGF2 binding and phosphorylation of ERK. Structural analysis of HS showed about 40% down-regulation in 6-O-sulfation with a parallel increase in iduronic acid mono-2-O-sulfated disaccharides. To assess the relevance of these data in vivo we established a murine model of fibrosis (unilateral ureteric obstruction (UUO)). HS-specific phage display antibodies (HS3A8 and RB4EA12) showed significant increase in 6-O-sulfation in fibrotic kidney compared with the control. These results suggest an important role of 6-O-sulfation in the pathogenesis of fibrosis associated with chronic rejection.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Alhasan AA, Spielhofer J, Kusche-Gullberg M, Kirby JA, Ali S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Biological Chemistry

Year: 2014

Volume: 289

Issue: 29

Pages: 20295-20306

Print publication date: 18/07/2014

ISSN (print): 0021-9258

ISSN (electronic): 1083-351X

Publisher: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M114.554691


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Funder referenceFunder name
Ministry of Higher Education, Syrian Arab Republic
3292722-2012Norwegian Cancer Society