SUMO-4: A novel functional candidate in the human placental protein SUMOylation machinery
by Dora Baczyk, Melanie C. Audette, Sascha Drewlo, Khrystyna Levytska, John C. KingdomBackground
Small ubiquitin-like modifiers (SUMOs) conjugate to proteins post-translationally, thereby affecting target localization, activity and stability. Functional SUMO family members identified in the human placenta include SUMO-1 to SUMO-3, which are elevated in pre-eclampsia. Whether the fourth isoform, SUMO-4, plays a role in placental development and function remains unknown.Objectives
We tested the hypothesis that SUMO-4 is expressed in the human placenta and demonstrates altered SUMOylation in pre-eclamptic pregnancies.Methods
SUMO-4 mRNA (qRT-PCR) and protein (Western blot and immunohistochemistry) were measured in Jar cells, BeWo cells, first trimester placental villous explants and placental tissues across normal gestation and in pre-eclampsia. SUMO-4 expression in response to oxidative stress (H2O2: 0, 0.1, 1 and 5mM), as well as, hypoxia-reperfusion (O2: 1%, 8% and 20%) was measured. Lastly, SUMO-4 binding (covalently vs. non-covalently) to target proteins was investigated.Results
SUMO-4 mRNA and protein were unchanged across gestation. SUMO-4 was present in the villous trophoblast layer throughout gestation. SUMO-4 mRNA expression and protein levels were increased ~2.2-fold and ~1.8-fold in pre-eclamptic placentas compared to age-matched controls, respectively (p<0.01). SUMO-4 mRNA and protein expression increased in Jars, BeWos and first trimester placental explants with 5mM H2O2 treatment, as well as with exposure to hypoxia-reperfusion. SUMO-1 to SUMO-3 did not show consistent trends across models. SUMO-4 hyper-SUMOylation was predominantly covalent in nature.Conclusions
SUMO-4 is expressed in normal placental development. SUMO-4 expression was increased in pre-eclamptic placentas and in models of oxidative stress and hypoxic injury. These data suggests that SUMO-4 hyper-SUMOylation may be a potential post-translational mechanism in the stressed pre-eclamptic placenta.
Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article
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