Diabetic nephropathy patients (DN) are characterized by increased lysine63 ubiquitination (Lys63-Ub) at the tubular level. Autophagy is deregulated under diabetic conditions, even though the molecular mechanisms and the consequences of this alteration need to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the link between Lys63-Ub and autophagy in DN and the involvement of these two processes in tubular cell fate. Immunohistochemistry of beclin-1, LC3, and p62 on kidney biopsies highlighted increased protein expression of all these autophagic factors at the tubular level in DN compared to other nephritis. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the presence of diffuse vacuolization and autophago(lyso)somal struc- tures in proximal tubular cells in DN. Accumulation of Lys63-Ub proteins in DN increased in accordance with the tubular damage and was associated to increased LC3 expression both in vivo and in vitro. Hyperglycemia (HG) induced LC3 and p62 protein expression in HK2 cells together with Lys63-ubiquitinated proteins, and the inhibition of HG-induced Lys63-Ub by NSC697923 inhibitor, significantly reduced both LC3 and p62 expression. Moreover, in DN, those tubules expressing LC3 showed increased caspase-3 expression, supporting the hypothesis that deregulated autophagy induces apoptosis of tubular cells. In vitro, we confirmed a tight association between impaired autophagy,
Journal of Molecular Medicine – Springer Journals
Published: May 27, 2018
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