Sortilin, an intracellular sorting receptor, has been identified as a cardiovascular risk factor in the general population. Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are highly susceptible to develop cardiovascular complications such as calcification. However, specific CKD-induced posttranslational protein modifications of sortilin and their link to cardiovascular calcification remain unknown. To investigate this, we examined two independent CKD cohorts for carbamylation of circulating sortilin and detected increased carbamylated sortilin lysine residues in the extracellular domain of sortilin with kidney function decline using targeted mass spectrometry. Structure analysis predicted altered ligand binding by carbamylated sortilin, which was verified by binding studies using surface plasmon resonance measurement, showing an increased affinity of interleukin 6 to in vitro carbamylated sortilin. Further, carbamylated sortilin increased vascular calcification in vitro and ex vivo that was accelerated by interleukin 6. Imaging by mass spectrometry of human calcified arteries revealed in situ carbamylated sortilin. In patients with CKD, sortilin carbamylation was associated with coronary artery calcification, independent of age and kidney function. Moreover, patients with carbamylated sortilin displayed significantly faster progression of coronary artery calcification than patients without sortilin carbamylation. Thus, carbamylated sortilin may be a risk factor for cardiovascular calcification and may contribute to elevated cardiovascular complications in patients with CKD.
Keywords: carbamylation; cardiovascular calcification; cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; post-translational modification; sortilin.
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