Natural antisense transcript for hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2-AS1) induces transcription of HAS2 via protein O-GlcNAcylation

Vigetti D, Deleonibus S, Moretto P, Bowen T, Fischer JW, Grandoch M, Oberhuber A, Love DC, Hanover JA, Cinquetti R, Karousou E, Viola M, D’Angelo ML, Hascall VC, De Luca G, Passi A. Natural antisense transcript for hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2-AS1) induces transcription of HAS2 via protein O-GlcNAcylation. J Biol Chem. 2014 Oct 17;289(42):28816-26. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.597401. PMID: 25183006 PMCID: PMC4200242

Changes in the microenvironment organization within vascular walls are critical events in the pathogenesis of vascular pathologies, including atherosclerosis and restenosis. Hyaluronan (HA) accumulation into artery walls supports vessel thickening and is involved in many cardiocirculatory diseases. Excessive cytosolic glucose can enter the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway, increase UDP-N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) availability, and lead to modification of cytosolic proteins via O-linked attachment of the monosaccharide β-N-GlcNAc (O-GlcNAcylation) from UDP-GlcNAc by the enzyme O-GlcNAc transferase. As many cytoplasmic and nuclear proteins can be glycosylated by O-GlcNAc, we studied whether the expression of the HA synthases that synthesize HA could be controlled by O-GlcNAcylation in human aortic smooth muscle cells. Among the three HAS isoenzymes, only HAS2 mRNA increased after O-GlcNAcylation induced by glucosamine treatments or by inhibiting O-GlcNAc transferase with PUGNAC (O-(2-acetamido-2-deoxy-d-glucopyranosylidene)amino-N-phenylcarbamate). We found that the natural antisense transcript of HAS2 (HAS2-AS1) was absolutely necessary to induce the transcription of the HAS2 gene. Moreover, we found that O-GlcNAcylation modulated HAS2-AS1 promoter activation by recruiting the NF-κB subunit p65, but not the HAS2 promoter, whereas HAS2-AS1 natural antisense transcript, working in cis, regulated HAS2 transcription by altering the chromatin structure around the HAS2 proximal promoter via O-GlcNAcylation and acetylation. These results indicate that HAS2 transcription can be finely regulated not only by recruiting transcription factors to the promoter as previously described but also by modulating chromatin accessibility by epigenetic modifications.

KEYWORDS: Epigenetics; Glycobiology; Glycosaminoglycan; Glycosylation; Hyaluronan; Long Noncoding RNA (Long ncRNA, lncRNA); Proteoglycan