Neurofilament heavy polypeptide protects against reduction in synaptopodin expression and prevents podocyte detachment.
ABSTRACT: Podocytes are highly specialized cells that line the glomerulus of the kidney and play a role in filtration. Podocyte injury plays a critical role in the development of many kidney diseases, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we identified that neurofilament heavy polypeptide (NEFH), an intermediate filament component, protects podocyte from injury. We observed that NEFH was upregulated after ADRIAMYCIN(ADR)-induced podocyte injury in both mice and cultured murine podocytes. Immunofluorescence and co-immunoprecipitation analyses revealed that NEFH was colocalized with synaptopodin, a podocyte-specific marker. High NEFH expression in podocytes prevented the Adriamycin-induced reduction in synaptopodin expression. The siRNA-mediated knockdown of NEFH in podocytes reduced the number of vinculin-containing focal contacts, thereby reducing adhesion to the extracellular matrix and increasing podocyte detachment. In addition, NEFH expression was significantly increased in renal biopsy specimens from patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and membranous nephropathy, but in those with minimal change disease. These findings indicate that NEFH is expressed in podocytes during the disease course and that it prevents the reduction in synaptopodin expression and detachment of podocytes.
Project description:Podocyte malfunction occurs in autoimmune and nonautoimmune kidney disease. Calcium signaling is essential for podocyte injury, but the role of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase (CaMK) signaling in podocytes has not been fully explored. We report that podocytes from patients with lupus nephritis and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and lupus-prone and lipopolysaccharide- or adriamycin-treated mice display increased expression of CaMK IV (CaMK4), but not CaMK2. Mechanistically, CaMK4 modulated podocyte motility by altering the expression of the GTPases Rac1 and RhoA and suppressed the expression of nephrin, synaptopodin, and actin fibers in podocytes. In addition, it phosphorylated the scaffold protein 14-3-3?, which resulted in the release and degradation of synaptopodin. Targeted delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor to podocytes preserved their ultrastructure, averted immune complex deposition and crescent formation, and suppressed proteinuria in lupus-prone mice and proteinuria in mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide-induced podocyte injury by preserving nephrin/synaptopodin expression. In animals exposed to adriamycin, podocyte-specific delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor prevented and reversed podocyte injury and renal disease. We conclude that CaMK4 is pivotal in immune and nonimmune podocyte injury and that its targeted cell-specific inhibition preserves podocyte structure and function and should have therapeutic value in lupus nephritis and podocytopathies, including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) is a serine protease that inhibits the degradation of glucagon-like peptide 1. DPP-4 inhibitors are used worldwide to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus and were recently shown to have pleiotropic effects such as anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fibrotic actions. DPP-4 inhibitors improve albuminuria and renal injury including glomerular damage independent of its hypoglycemic effect. Although DPP-4 is mainly expressed in the kidney, the physiological function of DPP-4 remains unclear. METHODS:The localization of renal DPP-4 activity was determined in human renal biopsy specimens with glycyl-1-prolyl-4-methoxy-2-naphthylamide and the effects of a DPP-4 inhibitor were examined in human cultured podocyte. RESULTS:DPP-4 activity under normal conditions was observed in some Bowman's capsular epithelial cells and proximal tubules, but not in the glomerulus. DPP-4 activity was observed in crescent formation in anti-neutrophil myeloperoxidase cytoplasmic antigen antibody nephritis, nodular lesions in diabetic nephropathy, and some podocytes in focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Notably, the DPP-4 inhibitor saxagliptin suppressed DPP-4 activity in podocytes and the proximal tubules. To assess the effect of DPP-4 inhibitor on podocytes, human cultured podocytes were injured by Adriamycin, which increased DPP-4 activity; this activity was dose-dependently suppressed by saxagliptin. Treatment with saxagliptin maintained the structure of synaptopodin and RhoA. Saxagliptin also improved the detachment of podocytes. CONCLUSIONS:DPP-4 activity induces degradation of synaptopodin and reduction of RhoA, resulting in destruction of the podocyte cytoskeleton. Saxagliptin may have pleiotropic effects to prevent podocyte injury.
Project description:Gain-of-function mutations of classic transient receptor potential channel 6 (TRPC6) were identified in familial FSGS, and increased expression of wild-type TRPC6 in glomeruli is observed in several human acquired proteinuric diseases. Synaptopodin, an actin binding protein that is important in maintaining podocyte function, is downregulated in various glomerular diseases. Here, we investigated whether synaptopodin maintains podocyte function by regulating podocyte surface expression and activity of TRPC6. We show indirect interaction and nonrandom association of synaptopodin and TRPC6 in podocytes. Knockdown of synaptopodin in cultured mouse podocytes increased the expression of TRPC6 at the plasma membrane, whereas overexpression of synaptopodin decreased it. Mechanistically, synaptopodin-dependent TRPC6 surface expression required functional actin and microtubule cytoskeletons. Overexpression of wild-type or FSGS-inducing mutant TRPC6 in synaptopodin-depleted podocytes enhanced TRPC6-mediated calcium influx and induced apoptosis. In vivo, knockdown of synaptopodin also caused increased podocyte surface expression of TRPC6. Administration of cyclosporin A, which stabilizes synaptopodin, reduced LPS-induced proteinuria significantly in wild-type mice but to a lesser extent in TRPC6 knockout mice. Furthermore, administration of cyclosporin A reversed the LPS-induced increase in podocyte surface expression of TRPC6 in wild-type mice. Our findings suggest that alteration in synaptopodin levels under disease conditions may modify intracellular TRPC6 channel localization and activity, which further contribute to podocyte dysfunction. Reducing TRPC6 surface levels may be a new approach to restoring podocyte function.
Project description:Synaptopodin is the founding member of a novel class of proline-rich actin-associated proteins highly expressed in telencephalic dendrites and renal podocytes. Synaptopodin-deficient (synpo(-/-)) mice lack the dendritic spine apparatus and display impaired activity-dependent long-term synaptic plasticity. In contrast, the ultrastructure of podocytes in synpo(-/-) mice is normal. Here we show that synpo(-/-) mice display impaired recovery from protamine sulfate-induced podocyte foot process (FP) effacement and LPS-induced nephrotic syndrome. Similarly, synpo(-/-) podocytes show impaired actin filament reformation in vitro. We further demonstrate that synaptopodin exists in 3 isoforms, neuronal Synpo-short (685 AA), renal Synpo-long (903 AA), and Synpo-T (181 AA). The C terminus of Synpo-long is identical to that of Synpo-T. All 3 isoforms specifically interact with alpha-actinin and elongate alpha-actinin-induced actin filaments. synpo(-/-) mice lack Synpo-short and Synpo-long expression but show an upregulation of Synpo-T protein expression in podocytes, though not in the brain. Gene silencing of Synpo-T abrogates stress-fiber formation in synpo(-/-) podocytes, demonstrating that Synpo-T serves as a backup for Synpo-long in synpo(-/-) podocytes. In concert, synaptopodin regulates the actin-bundling activity of alpha-actinin in highly dynamic cell compartments, such as podocyte FPs and the dendritic spine apparatus.
Project description:Activation of endothelin-A receptor (ET(A)R) by endothelin-1 (ET-1) drives epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in ovarian tumor cells through ?-arrestin signaling. Here, we investigated whether this pathogenetic pathway could affect podocyte phenotype in proliferative glomerular disorders. In cultured mouse podocytes, ET-1 caused loss of the podocyte differentiation marker synaptopodin and acquisition of the mesenchymal marker ?-smooth muscle actin. ET-1 promoted podocyte migration via ET(A)R activation and increased ?-arrestin-1 expression. Activated ET(A)R recruited ?-arrestin-1 to form a trimeric complex with Src leading to epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) transactivation and ?-catenin phosphorylation, which promoted gene transcription of Snail. Increased Snail expression fostered ET-1-induced migration as confirmed by Snail knockdown experiments. Silencing of ?-arrestin-1 prevented podocyte phenotypic changes and motility and inhibited ET(A)R-driven signaling. In vitro findings were confirmed in doxorubicin (Adriamycin)-induced nephropathy. Mice receiving Adriamycin developed renal injury with loss of podocytes and hyperplastic lesion formation; ?-arrestin-1 expression increased in visceral podocytes and in podocytes entrapped in pseudo-crescents. Administration of the selective ET(A)R antagonist sitaxsentan prevented podocyte loss, formation of the hyperplastic lesions, and normalized expression of glomerular ?-arrestin-1 and Snail. Increased ?-arrestin-1 levels in podocytes retrieved from crescents of patients with proliferative glomerulopathies confirmed the translational relevance of these findings and suggest the therapeutic potential of ET(A)R antagonism for a group of diseases still needing a specific treatment.
Project description:Podocyte injury has been suggested to induce phenotypic alteration of glomerular podocytes and accelerate the detachment of podocytes from the glomeruli resulting in podocyturia. However, it is not clear whether podocyte phenotypic alteration occurs in the urine of women with preeclampsia (PE). Seventy-seven and 116 pelleted urine samples from 38 and 18 women at various stages of normal and PE pregnancies, respectively underwent quantitative analysis of podocyte-specific or associated protein mRNA expression, including podocin, nephrin, and synaptopodin using RT-PCR. Significant proteinuria in pregnancy (SPIP) is defined as protein:creatinine ratio (P/Cr, mg/mg) ≥ 0.27 in the urine supernatant. All three urine-pellet mRNAs expression levels were significantly positively correlated with P/Cr levels, suggesting that podocyturia increased with proteinuria. The podocin:nephrin mRNA ratio (PNR) and synaptopodin:nephrin mRNA ratio (SNR) increased significantly with increasing P/Cr, while the podocin:synaptopodin mRNA ratio (PSR) did not change significantly according to P/Cr, resulting in significantly higher PNR and SNR, but not PSR levels, in urine from PE women with than without SPIP. The PNR, SNR, and PSR in urine from PE women before onset of SPIP were comparable to those from controls. Thus, nephrin mRNA expression was reduced in the podocytes recovered from PE women.
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:Accumulating evidence suggests that podocytes are direct targets of many classic antiproteinuric drugs. The immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine A (CsA), which is a calcineurin inhibitor, is used to treat proteinuric kidney diseases. One novel mechanism by which CsA reduces proteinuria is by directly stabilizing the podocyte cytoskeleton. Previous studies showed that calcineurin can directly regulate WAVE1 within mouse striatal slices. In this study, WAVE1 was expressed in podocytes and was localized in the podocyte cell bodies and foot processes (FPs). WAVE1 expression increased in both in vivo and in vitro models of puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN)-induced podocyte injury. CsA restored WAVE1 expression and also partially rescued the disordered F-actin arrangement after PAN injury. Co-immunoprecipitation assays showed that calcineurin directly interacted with WAVE1 and regulated WAVE1 phosphorylation in podocytes. Synaptopodin is a well-characterized target of CsA. WAVE1 overexpression and synaptopodin knockdown experiments directly demonstrated that WAVE1 expression is not dependent on synaptopodin expression, and vice versa. Overexpression of WAVE1 using a WAVE1 plasmid disrupted F-actin structure and promoted podocyte migration compared with the empty vector group. Therefore, WAVE1 may be a novel molecular target for the maintenance of podocyte FPs and for antiproteinuric treatment in the future.
Project description:Podocytes are terminally differentiated epithelial cells in the kidney glomeruli that act as a key component of the glomerular filtration barrier. Although the inciting injury to the podocyte may vary between various glomerular diseases, the inevitable consequence of podocyte injury results in their loss, leading to progressive kidney disease. Here, we report that the expression of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-? (C/EBP-?), a transcription factor known to interact with and activate PPAR-? and NF-?B, is suppressed in the glomerular cells, particularly in podocytes, in human kidneys with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Genetic ablation of C/EBP-? in podocytes resulted in increased proteinuria, increased podocyte foot process effacement, and to decreased podocyte number in the setting of Adriamycin (ADR)-induced nephropathy. Overexpression of C/EBP-? in human podocytes in vitro led to an inhibition of MCP-1 and IL-6 expression in response to TNF-? and IL-1? treatments. Conversely, augmented production of MCP-1 and IL-6 was observed in the glomeruli of C/EBP-? knockout mice and was associated increased infiltration of macrophages in vivo. Together, our data suggest that C/EBP-? mediates anti-inflammatory effects in podocytes to confer protection against podocyte injury and loss that may contribute to worsening glomerulosclerosis.
Project description:Podocytes play a critical role in glomerular barrier function, both in health and disease. However, in vivo terminally differentiated podocytes are difficult to be maintained in in vitro culture. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) offer the unique possibility for directed differentiation into mature podocytes. The current differentiation protocol to generate iPSC-derived podocyte-like cells provides a robust and reproducible method to obtain podocyte-like cells after 10 days that can be employed in in vitro research and biomedical engineering. Previous published protocols were improved by testing varying differentiation media, growth factors, seeding densities, and time course conditions. Modifications were made to optimize and simplify the one-step differentiation procedure. In contrast to earlier protocols, adherent cells for differentiation were used, the use of fetal bovine serum (FBS) was reduced to a minimum, and thus ß-mercaptoethanol could be omitted. The plating densities of iPSC stocks as well as the seeding densities for differentiation cultures turned out to be a crucial parameter for differentiation results. Conditionally immortalized human podocytes served as reference controls. iPSC-derived podocyte-like cells showed a typical podocyte-specific morphology and distinct expression of podocyte markers synaptopodin, podocin, nephrin and WT-1 after 10 days of differentiation as assessed by immunofluorescence staining or Western blot analysis. qPCR results showed a downregulation of pluripotency markers Oct4 and Sox-2 and a 9-fold upregulation of the podocyte marker synaptopodin during the time course of differentiation. Cultured podocytes exhibited endocytotic uptake of albumin. In toxicological assays, matured podocytes clearly responded to doxorubicin (Adriamycin™) with morphological alterations and a reduction in cell viability after 48 h of incubation.