O-GlcNAcylation as a novel ammonia-induced posttranslational protein modification in cultured rat astrocytes
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Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a clinical manifestation of a low grade cerebral edema with a mutual interrelationship between osmotic- and oxidative stress. This leads to RNA oxidation and posttranslational protein modifications such as protein tyrosine nitration with pathophysiological relevance. Here, we report on O-GlcNAcylation as another ammonia-induced posttranslational protein modification in cultured rat astrocytes. NH4Cl induced O-GlcNAcylation of distinct proteins (25–250 kDa) in astrocytes in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Exposure of astrocytes to NH4Cl (5 mmol/l) for 48 h and 72 h significantly increased protein O-GlcNAcylation by about 2-fold and 4-fold, respectively. NH4Cl at a concentration of 1 mmol/l was sufficient to double protein O-GlcNAcylation in astrocytes after 72 h as compared to untreated controls. Ammonia-induced protein O-GlcNAcylation was sensitive towards glutamine-synthetase inhibition by methionine sulfoximine (MSO), but was not induced by hypoosmolarity (205 mosmol/l) or CH3NH3Cl (5 mmol/l). Increased protein O-GlcNAcylation in NH4Cl (5 mmol/l, 48 h)-treated astrocytes was fully reversible within 24 h after withdrawal of NH4Cl from culture medium. Amongst the proteins which are O-GlcNAcylated in response to ammonia, GAPDH was identified. It is concluded that ammonia induces reversible protein O-GlcNAcylation in astrocytes that depends on glutamine synthesis but not on astrocyte swelling per se or ammonia-induced pH-changes. In view of the complex involvement of O-GlcNAcylation in cell regulation, such as energy metabolism, apoptosis and circadian rhythmicity and in pathologies, such as neurodegenerative diseases, O-GlcNAcylation might contribute to the pathophysiology of hepatic encephalopathy.
KeywordsO-GlcNAcylation Ammonia Glutamine Hepatic encephalopathy Astrocytes
Chinese hamster ovary cells
Inducible nitric oxide synthase
O-(2-acetamido-2-deoxy-D-glucopyranosyl-idene) amino N-phenyl carbamate
Tumor necrosis factor α
This study was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through Sonderforschungsbereiche SFB 575 “Experimental Hepatology” and SFB 974 “Communication and Systems Relevance in Liver Injury and Regeneration”(Düsseldorf). Expert technical assistance by Torsten Janssen and Brigida Ziegler is gratefully acknowledged.
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