O-linked N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase OGT inhibits diabetic nephropathy by stabilizing histone methyltransferases EZH2 via the HES1/PTEN axis

Life Sci. 2021 Jun 1;274:119226. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2021.119226. Epub 2021 Feb 17.


Background: O-linked N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (OGT) is involved in diabetes-related diseases including diabetic nephropathy (DN), and responsible for O-GlcNAcylation. Moreover, O-GlcNAcylation and OGT could be induced by high glucose. Thus, we sought to explore the molecular mechanism of OGT in DN.

Methods: Loss- and gain-functions were conducted to determine the roles of OGT, enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), hairy and enhancer of split 1 (HES1) and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) in the viability, cell cycle and fibrosis of mesangial cells (MCs), followed by the assessment using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, flow cytometry, and Western blot assay (fibrosis-related proteins). The interaction between OGT and EZH2 and the effect on EZH2 glycosylation were verified by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) pull-down assays. EZH2 stability was checked by treatment with cycloheximide.

Results: Expression of OGT was repressed in the DN mice and high glucose-treated MCs. Elevated OGT suppressed viability of high glucose-treated MCs, blocked proliferation characterized by repressed cyclin D1, but enhanced p21 levels, and inhibited fibrosis evidenced by reduced levels of fibronectin (FN) and collagen-4 (col-4). OGT interacted with EZH2 and promoted its glycosylation thus stabilizing the EZH2. EZH2 overexpression enhanced the enrichment of EZH2 and histone H3 Lys27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) in the HES1 promoter. HES1 was upregulated and PTEN was downregulated in DN mice. Transduction of lentivirus vector containing overexpression (oe)-OGT alleviated renal injury in DN mice.

Conclusions: Collectively, OGT stabilizes histone methyltransferases EZH2 to regulate HES1/PTEN thus inhibiting DN.

Keywords: Diabetic nephropathy; Enhancer of zeste homolog 2; Fibrosis; Glycosylation; Hairy and enhancer of split 1; O-linked N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase; Phosphatase and tensin homolog.