Wnt/?-catenin pathway in podocytes integrates cell adhesion, differentiation, and survival.
ABSTRACT: Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the single most common cause of albuminuria and end-stage kidney disease in the United States. We found increased expression of Wnt/?-catenin (Ctnnb1) pathway transcripts and proteins in glomeruli and podocytes of patients and mouse models of DKD. Mice with podocyte-specific expression of stabilized Ctnnb1 exhibited basement membrane abnormalities, albuminuria, and increased susceptibility to glomerular injury. Mice with podocyte-specific deletion of Ctnnb1 or podocyte-specific expression of the canonical Wnt inhibitor Dickkopf-related protein 1 (Dkk1) also showed increased susceptibility to DKD. Podocytes with stabilized Ctnnb1 were less motile and less adhesive to different matrices. Deletion of Ctnnb1 in cultured podocytes increased the expression of podocyte differentiation markers and enhanced cell motility; however, these cells were more susceptible to apoptosis. These results indicate that Wnt/Ctnnb1 signaling in podocytes plays a critical role in integrating cell adhesion, motility, cell death, and differentiation. Balanced Ctnnb1 expression is critical for glomerular filtration barrier maintenance.
Project description:Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a microvascular complication that leads to kidney dysfunction and ESRD, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Podocyte Wnt-pathway activation has been demonstrated to be a trigger mechanism for various proteinuric diseases. Notably, four-and-a-half LIM domains protein 2 (FHL2) is highly expressed in urogenital systems and has been implicated in Wnt/?-catenin signaling. Here, we used in vitro podocyte culture experiments and a streptozotocin-induced DKD model in FHL2 gene-knockout mice to determine the possible role of FHL2 in DKD and to clarify its association with the Wnt pathway. In human and mouse kidney tissues, FHL2 protein was abundantly expressed in podocytes but not in renal tubular cells. Treatment with high glucose or diabetes-related cytokines, including angiotensin II and TGF-?1, activated FHL2 protein and Wnt/?-catenin signaling in cultured podocytes. This activation also upregulated FHL2 expression and promoted FHL2 translocation from cytosol to nucleus. Genetic deletion of the FHL2 gene mitigated the podocyte dedifferentiation caused by activated Wnt/?-catenin signaling under Wnt-On, but not under Wnt-Off, conditions. Diabetic FHL2(+/+) mice developed markedly increased albuminuria and thickening of the glomerular basement membrane compared with nondiabetic FHL2(+/+) mice. However, FHL2 knockout significantly attenuated these DKD-induced changes. Furthermore, kidney samples from patients with diabetes had a higher degree of FHL2 podocyte nuclear translocation, which was positively associated with albuminuria and progressive renal function deterioration. Therefore, we conclude that FHL2 has both structural and functional protein-protein interactions with ?-catenin in the podocyte nucleus and that FHL2 protein inhibition can mitigate Wnt/?-catenin-induced podocytopathy.
Project description:Podocyte dysfunction, one of the major causes of proteinuria, leads to glomerulosclerosis and end stage renal disease, but its underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. Here we show that Wnt/beta-catenin signaling plays a critical role in podocyte injury and proteinuria. Treatment with adriamycin induced Wnt and activated beta-catenin in mouse podocytes. Overexpression of Wnt1 in vivo activated glomerular beta-catenin and aggravated albuminuria and adriamycin-induced suppression of nephrin expression, whereas blockade of Wnt signaling with Dickkopf-1 ameliorated podocyte lesions. Podocyte-specific knockout of beta-catenin protected against development of albuminuria after injury. Moreover, pharmacologic activation of beta-catenin induced albuminuria in wild-type mice but not in beta-catenin-knockout littermates. In human proteinuric kidney diseases such as diabetic nephropathy and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, we observed upregulation of Wnt1 and active beta-catenin in podocytes. Ectopic expression of either Wnt1 or stabilized beta-catenin in vitro induced the transcription factor Snail and suppressed nephrin expression, leading to podocyte dysfunction. These results suggest that targeting hyperactive Wnt/beta-catenin signaling may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for proteinuric kidney diseases.
Project description:Our previous work demonstrated a protective role of protein S in early diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Protein S exerts antiinflammatory and antiapoptotic effects through the activation of TYRO3, AXL, and MER (TAM) receptors. Among the 3 TAM receptors, we showed that the biological effects of protein S were mediated largely by TYRO3 in diabetic kidneys. Our data now show that TYRO3 mRNA expression is highly enriched in human glomeruli and that TYRO3 protein is expressed in podocytes. Interestingly, glomerular TYRO3 mRNA expression increased in mild DKD but was suppressed in progressive DKD, as well as in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). Functionally, morpholino-mediated knockdown of tyro3 altered glomerular filtration barrier development in zebrafish larvae, and genetic ablation of Tyro3 in murine models of DKD and Adriamycin-induced nephropathy (ADRN) worsened albuminuria and glomerular injury. Conversely, the induction of TYRO3 overexpression specifically in podocytes significantly attenuated albuminuria and kidney injury in mice with DKD, ADRN, and HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN). Mechanistically, TYRO3 expression was suppressed by activation of TNF-?/NF-?B pathway, which may contribute to decreased TYRO3 expression in progressive DKD and FSGS, and TYRO3 signaling conferred antiapoptotic effects through the activation of AKT in podocytes. In conclusion, TYRO3 plays a critical role in maintaining normal podocyte function and may be a potential new drug target to treat glomerular diseases.
Project description:Inherited and acquired mitochondrial defects have been associated with podocyte dysfunction and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ? coactivator-1? (PGC1?) is one of the main transcriptional regulators of mitochondrial biogenesis and function. We hypothesized that increasing PGC1? expression in podocytes could protect from CKD. We found that PGC1? and mitochondrial transcript levels are lower in podocytes of patients and mouse models with diabetic kidney disease (DKD). To increase PGC1? expression, podocyte-specific inducible PGC1?-transgenic mice were generated by crossing nephrin-rtTA mice with tetO-Ppargc1a animals. Transgene induction resulted in albuminuria and glomerulosclerosis in a dose-dependent manner. Expression of PGC1? in podocytes increased mitochondrial biogenesis and maximal respiratory capacity. PGC1? also shifted podocytes towards fatty acid usage from their baseline glucose preference. RNA sequencing analysis indicated that PGC1? induced podocyte proliferation. Histological lesions of mice with podocyte-specific PGC1? expression resembled collapsing focal segmental glomerular sclerosis. In conclusion, decreased podocyte PGC1? expression and mitochondrial content is a consistent feature of DKD, but excessive PGC1? alters mitochondrial properties and induces podocyte proliferation and dedifferentiation, indicating that there is likely a narrow therapeutic window for PGC1? levels in podocytes.
Project description:The molecular signaling mechanisms between glomerular cell types during initiation/progression of diabetic kidney disease (DKD) remain poorly understood. We compared the early transcriptome profile between DKD-resistant C57BL/6J and DKD-susceptible DBA/2J (D2) glomeruli and demonstrated a significant downregulation of essential mitochondrial genes in glomeruli from diabetic D2 mice, but not in C57BL/6J, with comparable hyperglycemia. Diabetic D2 mice manifested increased mitochondrial DNA lesions (8-oxoguanine) exclusively localized to glomerular endothelial cells after 3 weeks of diabetes, and these accumulated over time in addition to increased urine secretion of 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine. Detailed assessment of glomerular capillaries from diabetic D2 mice demonstrated early signs of endothelial injury and loss of fenestrae. Glomerular endothelial mitochondrial dysfunction was associated with increased glomerular endothelin-1 receptor type A (Ednra) expression and increased circulating endothelin-1 (Edn1). Selective Ednra blockade or mitochondrial-targeted reactive oxygen species scavenging prevented mitochondrial oxidative stress of endothelial cells and ameliorated diabetes-induced endothelial injury, podocyte loss, albuminuria, and glomerulosclerosis. In human DKD, increased urine 8-oxo-deoxyguanosine was associated with rapid DKD progression, and biopsies from patients with DKD showed increased mitochondrial DNA damage associated with glomerular endothelial EDNRA expression. Our studies show that DKD susceptibility was linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, mediated largely by Edn1-Ednra in glomerular endothelial cells representing an early event in DKD progression, and suggest that cross talk between glomerular endothelial injury and podocytes leads to defects and depletion, albuminuria, and glomerulosclerosis.
Project description:Expression of a constitutively active Rho A (V14Rho) in podocytes in vivo induces albuminuria and foot process (FP) effacement. These effects may be mediated by the Rho A effector Rho kinase (ROK); but inhibition of ROK with Y27632 failed to attenuate albuminuria or FP effacement in V14Rho mice. ROK activates LIM kinases (LIMKs), which phosphorylate and inhibit the actin depolymerizing factor cofilin 1 (CFL1). Sustained phosphorylation of CFL1 is implicated in human nephrotic diseases, but Y27632 did not inhibit phosphorylation of CFL1 in vivo, despite effective ROK inhibition. CFL1 is also phosphorylated by testis-specific kinase 1 (TESK1) on the same serine residue. TESK1 was expressed in podocytes, and, similar to the in vivo situation, Y27632 had little effect on phospho-CFL1 (pCFL1) levels in cultured podocytes. In contrast, Y27632 reduced pCFL1 levels in TESK1 knockout (KO) cells. ROK inhibition enhanced podocyte motility but, the motility promoting effect of Y27632 was absent in TESK1 KO podocytes. Thus, TESK1 regulates podocyte cytoskeletal dynamics in glomerular podocytes and may play an important role in regulating glomerular filtration barrier integrity in glomerular disease processes.
Project description:Using the Nephrotic Syndrome Study Network Consortium data set and other publicly available transcriptomic data sets, we identified retinoic acid receptor responder protein 1 (RARRES1) as a gene whose expression positively correlated with renal function decline in human glomerular disease. The glomerular expression of RARRES1, which is largely restricted to podocytes, increased in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and diabetic kidney disease (DKD). TNF-? was a potent inducer of RARRES1 expression in cultured podocytes, and transcriptomic analysis showed the enrichment of cell death pathway genes with RARRES1 overexpression. The overexpression of RARRES1 indeed induced podocyte apoptosis in vitro. Notably, this effect was dependent on its cleavage in the extracellular domain, as the mutation of its cleavage site abolished the apoptotic effect. Mechanistically, the soluble RARRES1 was endocytosed and interacted with and inhibited RIO kinase 1 (RIOK1), resulting in p53 activation and podocyte apoptosis. In mice, podocyte-specific overexpression of RARRES1 resulted in marked glomerular injury and albuminuria, while the overexpression of RARRES1 cleavage mutant had no effect. Conversely, podocyte-specific knockdown of Rarres1 in mice ameliorated glomerular injury in the setting of adriamycin-induced nephropathy. Our study demonstrates an important role and the mechanism of RARRES1 in podocyte injury in glomerular disease.
Project description:Overexpression of glomerular JAK2 mRNA specifically in glomerular podocytes of 129S6 mice led to significant increases in albuminuria, mesangial expansion, glomerulosclerosis, glomerular fibronectin accumulation, and glomerular basement membrane thickening as well as a significant reduction in podocyte density in diabetic mice. Treatment with a specific JAK1/2 inhibitor partly reversed the major phenotypic changes of DKD Overall design: Glomerular RNA was extracted using the RNeasy Mini Kit and processed for hybridization on Affymetrix Mouse Gene 2.1 ST chip microarrays
Project description:Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a major cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and therapeutic strategies for delaying its progression are limited. Loss of podocytes by apoptosis characterizes the early stages of DKD. To identify novel therapeutic options, we investigated the effects of Xuesaitong (XST), consisting of total saponins from Panax notoginseng, on podocyte apoptosis in streptozotocin- (STZ-) induced diabetic rats. XST (5?mg/kg·d) or Losartan (10?mg/kg·d) was given to diabetic rats for 12 weeks. Albuminuria, renal function markers, and renal histopathology morphological changes were examined. Podocyte apoptosis was determined by triple immunofluorescence labelling including a TUNEL assay, WT1, and DAPI. Renal expression of Nox4, miRNA-214, PTEN, PDK1, phosphorylated Akt, mTOR, and mTORC1 was detected. In diabetic rats, severe hyperglycaemia and albuminuria developed, and apoptotic podocytes were markedly increased in diabetic kidneys. However, XST attenuated albuminuria, mesangial expansion, podocyte apoptosis, and morphological changes of podocytes in diabetic rats. Decreased expression of PTEN, as well as increased expression of Nox4, miRNA-214, PDK1, phosphorylated Akt, mTOR, and mTORC1, was detected. These abnormalities were partially restored by XST treatment. Thus, XST ameliorated podocyte apoptosis partly through modulating the PTEN-PDK1-Akt-mTOR pathway. These novel findings might point the way to a natural therapeutic strategy for treating DKD.
Project description:Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) remains the most common cause of end-stage kidney disease despite multifactorial intervention. We demonstrated that increased cholesterol in association with downregulation of ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCA1 occurs in normal human podocytes exposed to the sera of patients with type 1 diabetes and albuminuria (DKD(+)) when compared with diabetic patients with normoalbuminuria (DKD(-)) and similar duration of diabetes and lipid profile. Glomerular downregulation of ABCA1 was confirmed in biopsies from patients with early DKD (n = 70) when compared with normal living donors (n = 32). Induction of cholesterol efflux with cyclodextrin (CD) but not inhibition of cholesterol synthesis with simvastatin prevented podocyte injury observed in vitro after exposure to patient sera. Subcutaneous administration of CD to diabetic BTBR (black and tan, brachiuric) ob/ob mice was safe and reduced albuminuria, mesangial expansion, kidney weight, and cortical cholesterol content. This was followed by an improvement of fasting insulin, blood glucose, body weight, and glucose tolerance in vivo and improved glucose-stimulated insulin release in human islets in vitro. Our data suggest that impaired reverse cholesterol transport characterizes clinical and experimental DKD and negatively influences podocyte function. Treatment with CD is safe and effective in preserving podocyte function in vitro and in vivo and may improve the metabolic control of diabetes.