Altered protein O-GlcNAcylation in placentas from mothers with diabetes causes aberrant endocytosis in placental trophoblast cells

Victoria Palin, Matthew Russell, Robert Graham, John D. Aplin, Melissa Westwood

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Abstract

Women with pre-existing diabetes have an increased risk of poor pregnancy outcomes, including disordered fetal growth, caused by changes to placental function. Here we investigate the possibility that the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, which utilises cellular nutrients to regulate protein function via post-translationally modification with O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), mediates the placental response to the maternal metabolic milieu. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed that the placental O-GlcNAcome is altered in women with type 1 (n = 6) or type 2 (n = 6) diabetes T2D (≥ twofold change in abundance in 162 and 165 GlcNAcylated proteins respectively compared to BMI-matched controls n = 11). Ingenuity pathway analysis indicated changes to clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) and CME-associated proteins, clathrin, Transferrin (TF), TF receptor and multiple Rabs, were identified as O-GlcNAcylation targets. Stimulating protein O-GlcNAcylation using glucosamine (2.5 mM) increased the rate of TF endocytosis by human placental cells (p = 0.02) and explants (p = 0.04). Differential GlcNAcylation of CME proteins suggests altered transfer of cargo by placentas of women with pre-gestational diabetes, which may contribute to alterations in fetal growth. The human placental O-GlcNAcome provides a resource to aid further investigation of molecular mechanisms governing placental nutrient sensing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20705
JournalNature Scientific Reports
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021

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