O-glycan structures in apo(a) subunit of human lipoprotein(a) suppresses the pro-angiogenic activity of galectin-1 on human umbilical vein endothelial cells

The FASEB Journal  | 21 February 2023 | doi.org/10.1096/fj.202201001RR

Vasantha Kalaivani, Mahesh S. Krishna, Asokan Aneesh Kumar,Gopika Satheesh, Abdul Jaleel


Apolipoprotein(a) [apo(a)] is a highly polymorphic O-glycoprotein circulating in human plasma as lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)]. The O-glycan structures of apo(a) subunit of Lp(a) serve as strong ligands of galectin-1, an O-glycan binding pro-angiogenic lectin abundantly expressed in placental vascular tissues. But the pathophysiological significance of apo(a)-galectin-1 binding is not yet been revealed. Carbohydrate-dependent binding of galectin-1 to another O-glycoprotein, neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) on endothelial cells activates vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. Using apo(a), isolated from human plasma, we demonstrated the potential of the O-glycan structures of apo(a) in Lp(a) to inhibit angiogenic properties such as proliferation, migration, and tube-formation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) as well as neovascularization in chick chorioallantoic membrane. Further, in vitro protein-protein interaction studies have confirmed apo(a) as a superior ligand to NRP-1 for galectin-1 binding. We also demonstrated that the protein levels of galectin-1, NRP-1, VEGFR2, and downstream proteins in MAPK signaling were reduced in HUVECs in the presence of apo(a) with intact O-glycan structures compared to that of de-O-glycosylated apo(a). In conclusion, our study shows that apo(a)-linked O-glycans prevent the binding of galectin-1 to NRP-1 leading to the inhibition of galectin-1/neuropilin-1/VEGFR2/MAPK-mediated angiogenic signaling pathway in endothelial cells. As higher plasma Lp(a) level in women is an independent risk factor for pre-eclamsia, a pregnancy-associated vascular complication, we propose that apo(a) O-glycans-mediated inhibition of the pro-angiogenic activity of galectin-1 may be one of the underlying molecular mechanism of pathogenesis of Lp(a) in pre-eclampsia.


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