Nucleolin is a nuclear target of heparan sulfate derived from glypican-1
The recycling, S-nitrosylated heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycan glypican-1 releases anhydromannose (anMan)-containing HS chains by a nitrosothiol-catalyzed cleavage in endosomes that can be constitutive or induced by ascorbate. The HS-anMan chains are then transported to the nucleus. A specific nuclear target for HS-anMan has not been identified. We have monitored endosome-to-nucleus trafficking of HS-anMan by deconvolution and confocal immunofluorescence microscopy using an anMan-specific monoclonal antibody in non-growing, ascorbate-treated, and growing, untreated, wild-type mouse embryonic fibroblasts and hypoxia-exposed Alzheimer mouse Tg2576 fibroblasts and human U87 glioblastoma cells. In all cells, nuclear HS-anMan targeted a limited number of sites of variable size where it colocalized with DNA and nucleolin, an established marker for nucleoli. HS-anMan also colocalized with ethynyl uridine-tagged nascent RNA and two acetylated forms of histone H3. Acute hypoxia increased the formation of HS-anMan in both Tg2576 and U87 cells. A portion of HS-anMan colocalized with nucleolin at small discrete sites, while most of the nucleolin and nascent RNA was dispersed. In U87 cells, HS-anMan, nucleolin and nascent RNA reassembled after prolonged hypoxia. Nucleolar HS may modulate synthesis and/or release of rRNA.