Lipid biology of the podocyte--new perspectives offer new opportunities.
ABSTRACT: In the past 15 years, major advances have been made in understanding the role of lipids in podocyte biology. First, susceptibility to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and glomerular disease is associated with an APOL1 sequence variant, is expressed in podocytes and encodes apolipoprotein L1, an important component of HDL. Second, acid sphingomyelinase-like phosphodiesterase 3b encoded by SMPDL3b has a role in the conversion of sphingomyelin to ceramide and its levels are reduced in renal biopsy samples from patients with recurrent FSGS. Furthermore, decreased SMPDL3b expression is associated with increased susceptibility of podocytes to injury after exposure to sera from these patients. Third, in many individuals with membranous nephropathy, autoantibodies against the phospholipase A2 (PLA2) receptor, which is expressed in podocytes, have been identified. Whether these autoantibodies affect the activity of PLA2, which liberates arachidonic acid from glycerophospholipids and modulates podocyte function, is unknown. Fourth, clinical and experimental evidence support a role for ATP-binding cassette sub-family A member 1-dependent cholesterol efflux, free fatty acids and glycerophospolipids in the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease. An improved understanding of lipid biology in podocytes might provide insights to develop therapeutic targets for primary and secondary glomerulopathies.
Project description:Podocyte injury is the inciting event in primary glomerulopathies, such as minimal change disease and primary FSGS, and glucocorticoids remain the initial and often, the primary treatment of choice for these glomerulopathies. Because inflammation is not readily apparent in these diseases, understanding the direct effects of glucocorticoids on the podocyte, independent of the immunomodulatory effects, may lead to the identification of targets downstream of glucocorticoids that minimize toxicity without compromising efficacy. Several studies showed that treatment with glucocorticoids restores podocyte differentiation markers and normal ultrastructure and improves cell survival in murine podocytes. We previously determined that Krüppel-like factor 15 (KLF15), a kidney-enriched zinc finger transcription factor, is required for restoring podocyte differentiation markers in mice and human podocytes under cell stress. Here, we show that in vitro treatment with dexamethasone induced a rapid increase of KLF15 expression in human and murine podocytes and enhanced the affinity of glucocorticoid receptor binding to the promoter region of KLF15 In three independent proteinuric murine models, podocyte-specific loss of Klf15 abrogated dexamethasone-induced podocyte recovery. Furthermore, knockdown of KLF15 reduced cell survival and destabilized the actin cytoskeleton in differentiated human podocytes. Conversely, overexpression of KLF15 stabilized the actin cytoskeleton under cell stress in human podocytes. Finally, the level of KLF15 expression in the podocytes and glomeruli from human biopsy specimens correlated with glucocorticoid responsiveness in 35 patients with minimal change disease or primary FSGS. Thus, these studies identify the critical role of KLF15 in mediating the salutary effects of glucocorticoids in the podocyte.
Project description:Podocytes are crucial for the establishment of the blood-urine filtration barrier in the glomeruli of the kidney. These cells are mainly affected during glomerulopathies causing proteinuria and kidney function impairment. Ongoing podocyte injury leads to podocyte loss, finally followed by end-stage kidney disease. Podocytes display a predominant nuclear localization of YAP (Yes-associated protein), one effector protein of the Hippo pathway, which regulates the balance between proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in cells. Nuclear active YAP seems to be critical for podocyte survival in vivo and in vitro. We can show here that different treatments leading to sequestration of YAP into the cytoplasm in podocytes, like decreased rigidity of the substrate, incubation with dasatinib, or overexpression of Hippo pathway members result in the induction of apoptosis. A RNA sequencing analysis of large tumor suppressor kinase 2 (LATS2) overexpressing podocytes confirmed a significant upregulation of apoptotic genes. The downregulation of Hippo pathway components suggests a feedback mechanism in podocytes. Noteworthy was the regulation of genes involved in cell-cell junction, the composition of the extracellular space, and cell migration. This suggests an influence of Hippo pathway activity on podocyte integrity. As focal segmental glomerulopathy (FSGS) goes along with an activation of the Hippo pathway in podocytes, a comparison of our data with two independent studies of transcriptional regulation in human FSGS glomeruli obtained from the Nephroseq database was performed. This comparison affirmed a multitude of consistent transcriptional changes concerning the regulation of genes influencing apoptosis and the Hippo signaling pathway as well as cell junction formation and cell migration. The link between Hippo pathway activation in podocytes and the regulation of junction and migration processes in vivo might be a fundamental mechanism of glomerular sclerosis and loss of renal function.
Project description:Identifying new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for podocytopathies such as focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) requires a detailed analysis of transcriptional changes in podocytes over the course of disease. Here we used translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP) to isolate and profile podocyte-specific mRNA in two different models of FSGS. We expressed enhanced green fluorescent protein-tagged to ribosomal protein L10a in podocytes under the control of the collagen-1?1 promoter, enabling one-step podocyte-specific mRNA isolation over the course of disease. This TRAP protocol robustly enriched known podocyte-specific mRNAs. We crossed Col1?1-eGFP-L10a mice with the Actn4(-/-) and Actn4(+/K256E) models of FSGS and analyzed podocyte transcriptional profiles at 2, 6, and 44 weeks of age. Two upregulated podocyte genes in murine FSGS (CXCL1 and DMPK) were found to be upregulated at the protein level in biopsies from patients with FSGS, validating this approach. There was no dilution of podocyte-specific transcripts during disease. These are the first podocyte-specific RNA expression data sets during aging and in two models of FSGS. This approach identified new podocyte proteins that are upregulated in FSGS and defines novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for human glomerular disease.
Project description:Sphingolipids are components of the lipid rafts in plasma membranes, which are important for proper function of podocytes, a key element of the glomerular filtration barrier. Research revealed an essential role of sphingolipids and sphingolipid metabolites in glomerular disorders of genetic and non-genetic origin. The discovery that glucocerebrosides accumulate in Gaucher disease in glomerular cells and are associated with clinical proteinuria initiated intensive research into the function of other sphingolipids in glomerular disorders. The accumulation of sphingolipids in other genetic diseases including Tay-Sachs, Sandhoff, Fabry, hereditary inclusion body myopathy 2, Niemann-Pick, and nephrotic syndrome of the Finnish type and its implications with respect to glomerular pathology will be discussed. Similarly, sphingolipid accumulation occurs in glomerular diseases of non-genetic origin including diabetic kidney disease (DKD), HIV-associated nephropathy, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), and lupus nephritis. Sphingomyelin metabolites, such as ceramide, sphingosine, and sphingosine-1-phosphate have also gained tremendous interest. We recently described that sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase acid-like 3b (SMPDL3b) is expressed in podocytes where it modulates acid sphingomyelinase activity and acts as a master modulator of danger signaling. Decreased SMPDL3b expression in post-reperfusion kidney biopsies from transplant recipients with idiopathic FSGS correlates with the recurrence of proteinuria in patients and in experimental models of xenotransplantation. Increased SMPDL3b expression is associated with DKD. The consequences of differential SMPDL3b expression in podocytes in these diseases with respect to their pathogenesis will be discussed. Finally, the role of sphingolipids in the formation of lipid rafts in podocytes and their contribution to the maintenance of a functional slit diaphragm in the glomerulus will be discussed.
Project description:Sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase acid-like 3b (SMPDL3b) is a lipid raft enzyme that regulates plasma membrane (PM) fluidity. Here we report that SMPDL3b excess, as observed in podocytes in diabetic kidney disease (DKD), impairs insulin receptor isoform B-dependent pro-survival insulin signaling by interfering with insulin receptor isoforms binding to caveolin-1 in the PM. SMPDL3b excess affects the production of active sphingolipids resulting in decreased ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P) content as observed in human podocytes in vitro and in kidney cortexes of diabetic db/db mice in vivo. Podocyte-specific Smpdl3b deficiency in db/db mice is sufficient to restore kidney cortex C1P content and to protect from DKD. Exogenous administration of C1P restores IR signaling in vitro and prevents established DKD progression in vivo. Taken together, we identify SMPDL3b as a modulator of insulin signaling and demonstrate that supplementation with exogenous C1P may represent a lipid therapeutic strategy to treat diabetic complications such as DKD.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is frequently found in biopsies of patients with steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS). The pathogenesis of SRNS/FSGS is often unknown and the disease will recur in up to 50% of patients post-transplant, indicating the presence of circulating podocyte-toxic factor(s). Several studies have reported clinical improvement after anti-TNF? therapy. However, prediction of the clinical outcome in SRNS/FSGS is difficult, and novel predictive biomarkers are needed. An image-based assay, which measures disassembly of focal adhesion complexes in cultured podocytes, was used to ascertain the presence of podocyte toxic activity in SRNS/FSGS sera. Expression of TNF? pathway genes was analysed in the Nephroseq FSGS cohort and in cultured podocytes treated with SRNS/FSGS sera. Podocyte toxic activity was detected in 48/96 SRNS/FSGS patients. It did not correlate with serum TNF? levels, age, sex, ethnicity or glomerular filtration rate. In ~25% of the toxic samples, the toxicity was strongly inhibited by blockade of TNF? signaling. Transcriptional profiling of human FSGS biopsies and podocytes treated with FSGS sera revealed significant increases in expression of TNF? pathway genes. We identified patients with serum podocyte toxic activity who may be at risk for FSGS recurrence, and those patients in whom serum podocyte toxicity may be reversed by TNF? blockade. Activation of TNF? pathway genes occurs in podocytes of FSGS patients suggesting a causative effect of this pathway in response to circulating factor(s). In vitro analyses of patient sera may stratify patients according to prognostic outcomes and potential responses to specific clinical interventions.
Project description:Podocyte injury is a common hallmark in various glomerular diseases. The level of LRRC55 was increased in podocytes of patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), diabetic nephropathy (DN), and membranous nephropathy (MN). Upregulated LRRC55 and increased intracellular Ca2+ led to BK channel activation and the loss of intracellular potassium, resulting in apoptosome formation and caspase-3 activation in angiotensin II (Ang II)-treated podocytes. Knockout of Lrrc55 or the BK channel prevented the BK current and ameliorated podocyte injury in Ang II-treated mice. Upstream, NFATc3 regulated the expression of LRRC55. Increased LRRC55 expression in podocytes was also evident in animal models of FSGS, DN, and MN. Treatment with losartan or LRRC55 siRNA suppressed LRRC55 expression, prevented BK channel activation, and attenuated podocyte injury in animal models of FSGS, DN, and MN. In conclusion, upregulated LRRC55 promotes BK channel activation and aggravates cell injury in podocytes in FSGS, DN, and MN. LRRC55 inhibition may represent a new therapeutic approach for podocyte injury.
Project description:Background:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a kidney disease that is commonly associated with proteinuria and the progressive loss of renal function, which is characterized by podocyte injury and the depletion and collapse of glomerular capillary segments. The pathogenesis of FSGS has not been completely elucidated; however, recent advances in molecular genetics have provided increasing evidence that podocyte structural and functional disruption is central to FSGS pathogenesis. Here, we identified a patient with FSGS and aimed to characterize the pathogenic gene and verify its mechanism. Methods:Using next-generation sequencing and Sanger sequencing, we screened the causative gene that was linked to FSGS in this study. The patient's total blood RNA was extracted to validate the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of coenzyme Q10 monooxygenase 6 (COQ6) and validated it by immunohistochemistry. COQ6 knockdown in podocytes was performed in vitro with small interfering RNA, and then, F-actin was determined using immunofluorescence staining. Cell apoptosis was evaluated by flow cytometry, the expression of active caspase-3 was determined by Western blot, and mitochondrial function was detected by MitoSOX. Results:Using whole-exome sequencing and Sanger sequencing, we screened a new causative gene, COQ6, NM_182480: exon1: c.G41A: p.W14X. The mRNA expression of COQ6 in the proband showed decreased. Moreover, the expression of COQ6, which was validated by immunohistochemistry, also had the same change in the proband. Finally, we focused on the COQ6 gene to clarify the mechanism of podocyte injury. Flow cytometry showed significantly increased in apoptotic podocytes, and Western blotting showed increases in active caspase-3 in si-COQ6 podocytes. Meanwhile, reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were increased and F-actin immunofluorescence was irregularly distributed in the si-COQ6 group. Conclusions:This study reported a possible mechanism for FSGS and suggested that a new mutation in COQ6, which could cause respiratory chain defect, increase the generation of ROS, destroy the podocyte cytoskeleton, and induce apoptosis. It provides basic theoretical basis for the screening of FSGS in the future.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerular sclerosis (FSGS) is a primary kidney disease that is commonly associated with proteinuria and progressive loss of glomerular function, leading to development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). FSGS is characterized by podocyte injury and depletion and collapse of glomerular capillary segments. Progression of FSGS is associated with TGF-? activation in podocytes; however, it is not clear how TGF-? signaling promotes disease. Here, we determined that podocyte-specific activation of TGF-? signaling in transgenic mice and BALB/c mice with Adriamycin-induced glomerulosclerosis is associated with endothelin-1 (EDN1) release by podocytes, which mediates mitochondrial oxidative stress and dysfunction in adjacent endothelial cells via paracrine EDN1 receptor type A (EDNRA) activation. Endothelial dysfunction promoted podocyte apoptosis, and inhibition of EDNRA or scavenging of mitochondrial-targeted ROS prevented podocyte loss, albuminuria, glomerulosclerosis, and renal failure. We confirmed reciprocal crosstalk between podocytes and endothelial cells in a coculture system. Biopsies from patients with FSGS exhibited increased mitochondrial DNA damage, consistent with EDNRA-mediated glomerular endothelial mitochondrial oxidative stress. Our studies indicate that segmental glomerulosclerosis develops as a result of podocyte-endothelial crosstalk mediated by EDN1/EDNRA-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction and suggest that targeting the reciprocal interaction between podocytes and endothelia may provide opportunities for therapeutic intervention in FSGS.
Project description:<b>Rationale:</b> Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is characterized by the dysfunction of "post-mitotic" podocytes. The reentry of podocytes in the cell cycle will ultimately result in cell death. Mitotic arrest deficient 2-like protein 2 (MAD2B), an inhibitor of anaphase-promoting complex (APC)/cyclosome, precisely controls the metaphase to anaphase transition and ordered cell cycle progression. However, the role of MAD2B in FSGS podocyte injury remains unknown. <b>Methods:</b> To explore MAD2B function in podocyte cell cycle reentry, we used conditional mutant mice lacking MAD2B selectively in podocytes in ADR-induced FSGS murine model. Additionally, KU-55933, a specific inhibitor of ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) was utilized <i>in vivo</i> and <i>in vitro</i> to explore the role of ATM in regulating MAD2B. <b>Results:</b> The expression of MAD2B in podocytes was dramatically increased in patients with FSGS and ADR-treated mice along with podocyte cell cycle reentry. Podocyte-specific knockout of MAD2B effectively attenuated proteinuria, podocyte injury, and prevented the aberrant cell cycle reentry. By bioinformatics analysis we revealed that ATM kinase is a key upstream regulator of MAD2B. Furthermore, inhibition of ATM kinase abolished MAD2B-driven cell cycle reentry and alleviated podocyte impairment in FSGS murine model. <i>In vitro</i> studies by site-directed mutagenesis and immunoprecipitation we revealed ATM phosphorylated MAD2B and consequently hampered the ubiquitination of MAD2B in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. <b>Conclusions:</b> ATM kinase-MAD2B axis importantly contributes to the cell cycle reentry of podocytes, which is a novel pathogenic mechanism of FSGS, and may shed light on the development of its therapeutic approaches.