RNA sequencing of isolated cell populations expressing human APOL1 G2 risk variant reveals molecular correlates of sickle cell nephropathy in zebrafish podocytes.
ABSTRACT: Kidney failure occurs in 5-13% of individuals with sickle cell disease and is associated with early mortality. Two APOL1 alleles (G1 and G2) have been identified as risk factors for sickle cell disease nephropathy. Both risk alleles are prevalent in individuals with recent African ancestry and have been associated with nephropathic complications in other diseases. Despite the association of G1 and G2 with kidney dysfunction, the mechanisms by which these variants contribute to increased risk remain poorly understood. Previous work in zebrafish models suggest that the G2 risk allele functions as a dominant negative, whereas the G1 allele is a functional null. To understand better the cellular pathology attributed to APOL1 G2, we investigated the in vivo effects of the G2 risk variant on distinct cell types using RNA sequencing. We surveyed APOL1 G2 associated transcriptomic alterations in podocytes and vascular endothelial cells isolated from zebrafish larvae expressing cell-type specific reporters. Our analysis identified many transcripts (n = 7,523) showing differential expression between APOL1 G0 (human wild-type) and APOL1 G2 exposed podocytes. Conversely, relatively few transcripts (n = 107) were differentially expressed when comparing APOL1 G0 and APOL1 G2 exposed endothelial cells. Pathway analysis of differentially expressed transcripts in podocytes showed enrichment for autophagy associated terms such as "Lysosome" and "Phagosome", implicating these pathways in APOL1 G2 associated kidney dysfunction. This work provides insight into the molecular pathology of APOL1 G2 nephropathy which may offer new therapeutic strategies for multiple disease contexts such as sickle cell nephropathy.
Project description:People of recent sub-Saharan African ancestry develop kidney failure much more frequently than other groups. A large fraction of this disparity is due to two coding sequence variants in the APOL1 gene. Inheriting two copies of these APOL1 risk variants, known as G1 and G2, causes high rates of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), HIV-associated nephropathy and hypertension-associated end-stage kidney disease. Disease risk follows a recessive mode of inheritance, which is puzzling given the considerable data that G1 and G2 are toxic gain-of-function variants. We developed coisogenic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mice harboring either the wild-type (G0), G1 or G2 forms of human APOL1. Expression of interferon gamma (IFN-γ) via plasmid tail vein injection results in upregulation of APOL1 protein levels together with robust induction of heavy proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis in G1/G1 and G2/G2 but not G0/G0 mice. The disease phenotype was greater in G2/G2 mice. Neither heterozygous (G1/G0 or G2/G0) risk variant mice nor hemizygous (G1/-, G2/-) mice had significant kidney injury in response to IFN-γ, although the heterozygous mice had a greater proteinuric response than the hemizygous mice, suggesting that the lack of significant disease in humans heterozygous for G1 or G2 is not due to G0 rescue of G1 or G2 toxicity. Studies using additional mice (multicopy G2 and a non-isogenic G0 mouse) supported the notion that disease is largely a function of the level of risk variant APOL1 expression. Together, these findings shed light on the recessive nature of APOL1-nephropathy and present an important model for future studies.
Project description:Apolipoprotein L1 (<i>APOL1</i>) high-risk genotypes (HRG), G1 and G2, increase the risk of various non-diabetic kidney diseases in the African population. To date, the precise mechanisms by which <i>APOL1</i> risk variants induce injury on podocytes and other kidney cells remain unclear. Trying to unravel these mechanisms, most studies have used animal or cell models created by gene editing. We developed and characterised conditionally immortalised human podocyte cell lines derived from urine of a donor carrying <i>APOL1</i> HRG G2/G2. Following induction of APOL1 expression by polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)), we assessed functional features of APOL1-induced podocyte dysfunction. As control, APOL1 wild type (G0/G0) podocyte cell line previously generated from a Caucasian donor was used. Upon exposure to poly(I:C), G2/G2 and G0/G0 podocytes upregulated APOL1 expression resulting in podocytes detachment, decreased cells viability and increased apoptosis rate in a genotype-independent manner. Nevertheless, G2/G2 podocyte cell lines exhibited altered features, including upregulation of CD2AP, alteration of cytoskeleton, reduction of autophagic flux and increased permeability in an in vitro model under continuous perfusion. The human APOL1 G2/G2 podocyte cell model is a useful tool for unravelling the mechanisms of APOL1-induced podocyte injury and the cellular functions of APOL1.
Project description:Two coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene (termed G1 and G2) are strongly associated with increased risk of nondiabetic kidney disease in people of recent African ancestry. The mechanisms by which the risk variants cause kidney damage, although not well-understood, are believed to involve injury to glomerular podocytes. The intracellular localization and function of APOL1 in podocytes remain unclear, with recent studies suggesting possible roles in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), mitochondria, endosomes, lysosomes, and autophagosomes. Here, we demonstrate that APOL1 also localizes to intracellular lipid droplets (LDs). While a large fraction of risk variant APOL1 (G1 and G2) localizes to the ER, a significant proportion of wild-type APOL1 (G0) localizes to LDs. APOL1 transiently interacts with numerous organelles, including the ER, mitochondria, and endosomes. Treatment of cells that promote LD formation with oleic acid shifted the localization of G1 and G2 from the ER to LDs, with accompanying reduction of autophagic flux and cytotoxicity. Coexpression of G0 APOL1 with risk variant APOL1 enabled recruitment of G1 and G2 from the ER to LDs, accompanied by reduced cell death. The ability of G0 APOL1 to recruit risk variant APOL1 to LDs may help explain the recessive pattern of kidney disease inheritance. These studies establish APOL1 as a bona fide LD-associated protein, and reveal that recruitment of risk variant APOL1 to LDs reduces cell toxicity, autophagic flux, and cell death. Thus, interventions that divert APOL1 risk variants to LDs may serve as a novel therapeutic strategy to alleviate their cytotoxic effects.
Project description:Two coding sequence variants (G1 and G2) of Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene have been implicated as a higher risk factor for chronic kidney diseases (CKD) in African Americans when compared with European Americans. Previous studies have suggested that the APOL1 G1 and G2 variant proteins are more toxic to kidney cells than the wild-type APOL1 G0, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. To determine whether endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress contributes to podocyte toxicity, we generated human podocytes (HPs) that stably overexpressed APOL1 G0, G1, or G2 (Vec/HPs, G0/HPs, G1/HPs, and G2/HPs). Propidium iodide staining showed that HP overexpressing the APOL1 G1 or G2 variant exhibited a higher rate of necrosis when compared with those overexpressing the wild-type G0 counterpart. Consistently, the expression levels of nephrin and podocin proteins were significantly decreased in the G1- or G2-overexpressing cells despite the maintenance of their mRNA expressions levels. In contrast, the expression of the 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein ((GRP78), also known as the binding Ig protein, BiP) and the phosphorylation of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 1 (eIF1) were significantly elevated in the G1/HPs and G2/HPs, suggesting a possible occurrence of ER stress in these cells. Furthermore, ER stress inhibitors not only restored nephrin protein expression, but also provided protection against necrosis in G1/HPs and G2/HPs, suggesting that APOL1 risk variants cause podocyte injury partly through enhancing ER stress.
Project description:Development of higher rates of nondiabetic glomerulosclerosis (GS) in African Americans has been attributed to two coding sequence variants (G1 and G2) in the APOL1 gene. To date, the cellular function and the role of APOL1 variants (Vs) in GS are still unknown. In this study, we examined the effects of overexpressing wild-type (G0) and kidney disease risk variants (G1 and G2) of APOL1 in human podocytes using a lentivirus expression system. Interestingly, G0 inflicted podocyte injury only at a higher concentration; however, G1 and G2 promoted moderate podocyte injury at lower and higher concentrations. APOL1Vs expressing podocytes displayed diffuse distribution of both Lucifer yellow dye and cathepsin L as manifestations of enhanced lysosomal membrane permeability (LMP). Chloroquine attenuated the APOL1Vs-induced increase in podocyte injury, consistent with targeting lysosomes. The chloride channel blocker DIDS prevented APOL1Vs- induced injury, indicating a role for chloride influx in osmotic swelling of lysosomes. Direct exposure of noninfected podocytes with conditioned media from G1- and G2-expressing podocytes also induced injury, suggesting a contributory role of the secreted component of G1 and G2 as well. Adverse host factors (AHFs) such as hydrogen peroxide, hypoxia, TNF-?, and puromycin aminonucleoside augmented APOL1- and APOL1Vs-induced podocyte injury, while the effect of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) on podocyte injury was overwhelming under conditions of APOLVs expression. We conclude that G0 and G1 and G2 APOL1 variants have the potential to induce podocyte injury in a manner which is further augmented by AHFs, with HIV infection being especially prominent.
Project description:Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) genetic variants G1 and G2, compared to the common allele G0, are major risk factors for non-diabetic kidney disease in African descent populations. APOL1 is a minor protein component of HDL, as well as being expressed in podocytes and vascular cells. Reverse cholesterol transport involves the transport of cholesterol to HDL by cellular ATP-binding cassette; ABCA1 and ABCG1 with subsequent delivery from peripheral tissues to the liver. With impaired reverse cholesterol transport, lipid accumulation occurs and macrophages morphologically transform into foam cells, releasing inflammatory factors. We asked whether the APOL1 risk variants alter peripheral cholesterol metabolism and specifically affect macrophage cholesterol efflux. Tissues and bone marrow (BM)-derived monocytes were isolated from wild-type mice (WT) and from BAC/APOL1 transgenic (APOL1-G0, APOL1-G1, and APOL1-G2) mice, which carry a bacterial artificial chromosome that contains the human APOL1 genomic region. Monocytes were differentiated into macrophages using M-CSF, and then polarized into M1 and M2 macrophages. Cholesterol content, cholesterol efflux, and ABCA1 and ABCG1 mRNA expression were measured. Kidney, spleen, and bone marrow-derived macrophages from APOL1-G1 and -G2 mice showed increased cholesterol accumulation and decreased ABCA1 and ABCG1 mRNA levels. BM-derived macrophages from APOL1-G1 and -G2 mice showed significantly reduced cholesterol efflux compared to WT or APOL1-G0 macrophages. Taken together, the evidence suggests that APOL1-G1 and -G2 risk variants impaired reverse cholesterol transport through decreased expression of cholesterol efflux transporters suggesting a possible mechanism to promote macrophage foam cell formation, driving inflammation in the glomerulus and renal interstitium.
Project description:African polymorphisms in the gene for Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) confer a survival advantage against lethal trypanosomiasis but also an increased risk for several chronic kidney diseases (CKD) including HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN). APOL1 is expressed in renal cells, however, the pathogenic events that lead to renal cell damage and kidney disease are not fully understood. The podocyte function of APOL1-G0 versus APOL1-G2 in the setting of a known disease stressor was assessed using transgenic mouse models. Transgene expression, survival, renal pathology and function, and podocyte density were assessed in an intercross of a mouse model of HIVAN (Tg26) with two mouse models that express either APOL1-G0 or APOL1-G2 in podocytes. Mice that expressed HIV genes developed heavy proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis, and had significant losses in podocyte numbers and reductions in podocyte densities. Mice that co-expressed APOL1-G0 and HIV had preserved podocyte numbers and densities, with fewer morphologic manifestations typical of HIVAN pathology. Podocyte losses and pathology in mice co-expressing APOL1-G2 and HIV were not significantly different from mice expressing only HIV. Podocyte hypertrophy, a known compensatory event to stress, was increased in the mice co-expressing HIV and APOL1-G0, but absent in the mice co-expressing HIV and APOL1-G2. Mortality and renal function tests were not significantly different between groups. APOL1-G0 expressed in podocytes may have a protective function against podocyte loss or injury when exposed to an environmental stressor. This was absent with APOL1-G2 expression, suggesting APOL1-G2 may have lost this protective function.
Project description:African Americans have a disproportionate risk for developing nephropathy. This disparity has been attributed to coding variants (G1 and G2) in apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1); however, there is little functional evidence supporting the role of this protein in renal function. Here, we combined genetics and in vivo modeling to examine the role of apol1 in glomerular development and pronephric filtration and to test the pathogenic potential of APOL1 G1 and G2. Translational suppression or CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing of apol1 in zebrafish embryos results in podocyte loss and glomerular filtration defects. Complementation of apol1 morphants with wild-type human APOL1 mRNA rescues these defects. However, the APOL1 G1 risk allele does not ameliorate defects caused by apol1 suppression and the pathogenicity is conferred by the cis effect of both individual variants of the G1 risk haplotype (I384M/S342G). In vivo complementation studies of the G2 risk allele also indicate that the variant is deleterious to protein function. Moreover, APOL1 G2, but not G1, expression alone promotes developmental kidney defects, suggesting a possible dominant-negative effect of the altered protein. In sickle cell disease (SCD) patients, we reported previously a genetic interaction between APOL1 and MYH9. Testing this interaction in vivo by co-suppressing both transcripts yielded no additive effects. However, upon genetic or chemical induction of anemia, we observed a significantly exacerbated nephropathy phenotype. Furthermore, concordant with the genetic interaction observed in SCD patients, APOL1 G2 reduces myh9 expression in vivo, suggesting a possible interaction between the altered APOL1 and myh9. Our data indicate a critical role for APOL1 in renal function that is compromised by nephropathy-risk encoding variants. Moreover, our interaction studies indicate that the MYH9 locus is also relevant to the phenotype in a stressed microenvironment and suggest that consideration of the context-dependent functions of both proteins will be required to develop therapeutic paradigms.
Project description:Intravascular hemolysis and hemoglobinuria are associated with sickle cell nephropathy. ApoL1 is involved in cell-free hemoglobin scavenging through association with haptoglobin-related protein. APOL1 G1/G2 variants are the strongest genetic predictors of kidney disease in the general African-American population. A single report associated APOL1 G1/G2 with sickle cell nephropathy. In 221 patients with sickle cell disease at the University of Illinois at Chicago, we replicated the finding of an association of APOL1 G1/G2 with proteinuria, specifically with urine albumin concentration (?=1.1, P=0.003), observed an even stronger association with hemoglobinuria (OR=2.5, P=4.3×10(-6)), and also replicated the finding of an association with hemoglobinuria in 487 patients from the Walk-Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension and Sickle cell Disease with Sildenafil Therapy study (OR=2.6, P=0.003). In 25 University of Illinois sickle cell disease patients, concentrations of urine kidney injury molecule-1 correlated with urine cell-free hemoglobin concentrations (r=0.59, P=0.002). Exposing human proximal tubular cells to increasing cell-free hemoglobin led to increasing concentrations of supernatant kidney injury molecule-1 (P=0.01), reduced viability (P=0.01) and induction of HMOX1 and SOD2. HMOX1 rs743811 associated with chronic kidney disease stage (OR=3.0, P=0.0001) in the University of Illinois cohort and end-stage renal disease (OR=10.0, P=0.0003) in the Walk-Treatment of Pulmonary Hypertension and Sickle cell Disease with Sildenafil Therapy cohort. Longer HMOX1 GT-tandem repeats (>25) were associated with lower estimated glomerular filtration rate in the University of Illinois cohort (P=0.01). Our findings point to an association of APOL1 G1/G2 with kidney disease in sickle cell disease, possibly through increased risk of hemoglobinuria, and associations of HMOX1 variants with kidney disease, possibly through reduced protection of the kidney from hemoglobin-mediated toxicity.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) G1 and G2 kidney-risk variants (KRVs) cause CKD in African Americans, inducing mitochondrial dysfunction. Modifying factors are required, because a minority of individuals with APOL1 high-risk genotypes develop nephropathy. Given that APOL1 function is pH-sensitive and the pH of the kidney interstitium is <7, we hypothesized the acidic kidney interstitium may facilitate APOL1 KRV-induced mitochondrial dysfunction.<h4>Methods</h4>Human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells conditionally expressing empty vector (EV), APOL1-reference G0, and G1 or G2 KRVs were incubated in media pH 6.8 or 7.4 for 4, 6, or 8 h. Genotype-specific pH effects on mitochondrial length (µm) were assessed using confocal microscopy in live cells and Fiji derivative of ImageJ software with MiNA plug-in. Lower mitochondrial length indicated fragmentation and early dysfunction.<h4>Results</h4>After 6 h doxycycline (Dox) induction in pH 6.8 media, G2-expressing cells had shorter mitochondria (6.54 ± 0.40) than cells expressing EV (7.65 ± 0.72, p = 0.02) or G0 (7.46 ± 0.31, p = 0.003). After 8 h Dox induction in pH 6.8 media, both G1- (6.21 ± 0.26) and G2-expressing cells had shorter mitochondria (6.46 ± 0.34) than cells expressing EV (7.13 ± 0.32, p = 0.002 and p = 0.008, respectively) or G0 (7.22 ± 0.45, p = 0.003 and p = 0.01, respectively). Mitochondrial length in cells incubated in pH 7.4 media were comparable after 8 h Dox induction regardless of genotype. APOL1 mRNA expression and cell viability were comparable regardless of pH or genotype after 8 h Dox induction.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Acidic pH facilitates early mitochondrial dysfunction induced by APOL1 G1 and G2 KRVs in HEK293 cells. We propose that the acidic kidney interstitium may play a role in APOL1-mediated mitochondrial pathophysiology and nephropathy.