Deficient glycosylation of O-linked glycans in the IgA1 hinge region is associated with IgA nephropathy in humans, but the pathogenic contribution of the underlying structural aberrations remains incompletely understood. We previously showed that mice implanted with cells secreting the class-switch variant 6-19 IgA anti-IgG2a rheumatoid factor, but not 46-42 IgA anti-IgG2a rheumatoid factor, develop glomerular lesions resembling IgA nephropathy. Because the levels of O-linked glycosylation in the hinge region and the structures of N-linked glycans in the CH1 domain differ in 6-19 IgA and 46-42 IgA, we determined the respective contributions of O- and N-linked glycans to the nephritogenic potential of the 6-19 IgA rheumatoid factor in mice. Wild-type 6-19 IgA secreted by implanted cells induced significant formation of glomerular lesions, whereas poorly O-glycosylated 6-19 IgA glycovariants or a 6-19 IgA hinge mutant lacking O-linked glycans did not. However, we observed no apparent heterogeneity in the structure of N-linked glycans attached to three different sites of the Fc regions of nephritogenic and non-nephritogenic 6-19 IgAs. Collectively, our data suggest a critical role of O-linked glycans attached to the hinge region in the development of IgA nephropathy-like GN induced by 6-19 IgA rheumatoid factor in mice.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Society of Nephrology.