AGEs-RAGE System Down-Regulates Sirt1 Through the Ubiquitin-Proteasome Pathway to Promote FN and TGF-β1 Expression in Male Rat Glomerular Mesangial Cells

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We previously demonstrated that advanced glycation-end products (AGEs) promote the pathological progression of diabetic nephropathy by decreasing silent information regulator 2-related protein 1 (Sirt1) expression in glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs). Here, we investigated whether AGEs-receptor for AGEs (RAGE) system down-regulated Sirt1 expression through ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and whether Sirt1 ubiquitination affected fibronectin (FN) and TGF-β1, 2 fibrotic indicators in GMCs. Sirt1 was polyubiquitinated and subsequently degraded by proteasome. AGEs increased Sirt1 ubiquitination and proteasome-mediated degradation, shortened Sirt1 half-life, and promoted FN and TGF-β1 expression. Ubiquitin-specific protease 22 (USP22) reduced Sirt1 ubiquitination and degradation and decreased FN and TGF-β1 expression in GMCs under both basal and AGEs-treated conditions. USP22 depletion enhanced Sirt1 degradation and displayed combined effects with AGEs to further promote FN and TGF-β1 expression. RAGE functioned crucial mediating roles in these processes via its C-terminal cytosolic domain. Inhibiting Sirt1 by EX-527 substantially suppressed the down-regulation of FN and TGF-β1 resulting from USP22 overexpression under both normal and AGEs-treated conditions, eventually leading to their up-regulation in GMCs. These results indicated that the AGEs-RAGE system increased the ubiquitination and subsequent proteasome-mediated degradation of Sirt1 by reducing USP22 level, and AGEs-RAGE-USP22-Sirt1 formed a cascade pathway that regulated FN and TGF-β1 level, which participated in the pathological progression of diabetic nephropathy.

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