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Abstract: TH-PO419

Knockdown of Ugcg Induces Kidney Autoimmune Disease

Session Information

Category: Nutrition, Inflammation, and Metabolism

  • 1401 Nutrition, Inflammation, Metabolism


  • Dupre, Tess, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
  • Sharp, Cierra, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
  • Doll, Mark A., University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
  • Sun, Ying, Cincinnati Children''s Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
  • Megyesi, Judit, University of Arkansas for Medical Science, Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
  • Beverly, Levi J., University Of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
  • Nowling, Tamara, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
  • Davis, Deanna L, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, United States
  • Siskind, Leah J., University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
  • Drake, Richard R, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
  • Zhang, Wujuan, CCHMC, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) play a role in autoimmune kidney diseases, including lupus nephritis. Autoimmune kidney diseases are associated with chronic inflammation and recruitment of immune cells into the kidney. N-glycans play a role in regulating inflammatory pathways in autoimmune diseases. Importantly, data in the literature suggest interplay between GSL and N-glycan biosynthetic pathways that may be important in regulating inflammatory responses.


We generated transgenic mice containing an inducible shRNA that targets expression of Ugcg (Tet-O-shUgcg). Ugcg is the gene that encodes for glucosylceramide synthase, the enzyme that catalyzes synthesis of glucosylceramide from ceramide. Tet-O-shUgcg mice were bred with CAG+/-rtTA3 mice (CAG-rtTA3-Tet-O-shUgcg) for universal expression of the shRNA in the presence of doxycyline.


Following Ugcg knockdown (KD), organized accumulations of CD19+ B cells and CD3+ T cells formed in the kidneys, which are defining features of tertiary lymphoid organs (TLOs). TLOs are ectopic accumulations of lymphoid cells that can arise in areas of chronic inflammation via lymphoid neogenesis. Data indicate that knockdown of Ugcg in kidney results in significant increases in levels of biantennary N-glycans relative to control, and decreases in branched multi-fucosylated glycans normally present in control kidneys. KD of Ugcg increases serum levels of total IgG and IgA.


KD of Ugcg alters N-glycan signatures in the kidney, induces TLO formation, and autoimmunity. This transgenic mouse model is novel tool for studying the role of GSLs and N-glycans in kidney inflammation and autoimmunity and may represent a new mouse model of autoimmune kidney disease.


  • NIDDK Support