Tubular injury triggers podocyte dysfunction by ?-catenin-driven release of MMP-7.
ABSTRACT: Proteinuric chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains a major health problem worldwide. While it is well established that the progression of primary glomerular disease induces tubulointerstitial lesions, how tubular injury triggers glomerular damage is poorly understood. We hypothesized that injured tubules secrete mediators that adversely affect glomerular health. To test this, we used conditional knockout mice with tubule-specific ablation of ?-catenin (Ksp-?-cat-/-) and subjected them to chronic angiotensin II (Ang II) infusion or Adriamycin. Compared with control mice, Ksp-?-cat-/- mice were dramatically protected from proteinuria and glomerular damage. MMP-7, a downstream target of ?-catenin, was upregulated in treated control mice, but this induction was blunted in the Ksp-?-cat-/- littermates. Incubation of isolated glomeruli with MMP-7 ex vivo led to nephrin depletion and impaired glomerular permeability. Furthermore, MMP-7 specifically and directly degraded nephrin in cultured glomeruli or cell-free systems, and this effect was dependent on its proteolytic activity. In vivo, expression or infusion of exogenous MMP-7 caused proteinuria, and genetic ablation of MMP-7 protected mice from Ang II-induced proteinuria and glomerular injury. Collectively, these results demonstrate that ?-catenin-driven MMP-7 release from renal tubules promotes glomerular injury via direct degradation of the key slit diaphragm protein nephrin.
Project description:Transforming growth factor-?1 (TGF-?1) upregulation occurs in virtually all chronic kidney diseases and is associated with podocyte injury and proteinuria; however, the mechanisms contributing to this in vivo are ambiguous. In vitro, incubation of podocytes with TGF-?1 induced Wnt1 expression, ?-catenin activation, and stimulated the expression of Wnt/?-catenin downstream target genes. Ectopic expression of Wnt1 or ?-catenin mimicked TGF-?1, induced Snail1, and suppressed nephrin expression. The Wnt antagonist, Dickkopf-1, blocked TGF-?1-induced ?-catenin activation, Snail1 induction, and nephrin suppression. In vivo, ectopic expression of TGF-?1 induced Wnt1 expression, activated ?-catenin, and upregulated Wnt target genes such as Snail1, MMP-7, MMP-9, desmin, Fsp1, and PAI-1 in mouse glomeruli, leading to podocyte injury and albuminuria. Consistently, concomitant expression of Dickkopf-1 gene abolished ?-catenin activation, inhibited TGF-?1-triggered Wnt target gene expression, and mitigated albuminuria. Thus, canonical Wnt/?-catenin signaling mediates TGF-?1-driven podocyte injury and proteinuria. These studies suggest that Wnt/?-catenin signaling may be exploited as a therapeutic target for the treatment of proteinuric kidney diseases.
Project description:Glomerular permeability and subsequent albuminuria are early clinical markers for glomerular injury in hypertensive nephropathy. Albuminuria predicts mortality and cardiovascular morbidity. AT1 receptor blockers protect from albuminuria, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A blood pressure independent, molecular mechanism for angiotensin II (Ang II) dependent albuminuria has long been postulated. Albuminuria results from a defective glomerular filter. Nephrin is a major structural component of the glomerular slit diaphragm and its endocytosis is mediated by ?-arrestin2. Ang II stimulation increases nephrin-?-arrestin2 binding, nephrin endocytosis and glomerular permeability in mice. This Ang II effect is mediated by AT1-receptors. AT1-receptor mutants identified G-protein signaling to be essential for this Ang II effect. G?q knockdown and phospholipase C inhibition block Ang II mediated enhanced nephrin endocytosis. Nephrin Y1217 is the critical residue controlling nephrin binding to ?-arrestin under Ang II stimulation. Nephrin Y1217 also mediates cytoskeletal anchoring to actin via nck2. Ang II stimulation decreases nephrin nck2 binding. We conclude that Ang II weakens the structural integrity of the slit diaphragm by increased nephrin endocytosis and decreased nephrin binding to nck2, which leads to increased glomerular permeability. This novel molecular mechanism of Ang II supports the use of AT1-receptor blockers to prevent albuminuria even in normotensives.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Studies were performed to determine if early treatment with an angiotensin II (Ang II) receptor blocker (ARB), olmesartan, prevents the onset of microalbuminuria by attenuating glomerular podocyte injury in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats with type 2 diabetes mellitus.<h4>Methods</h4>OLETF rats were treated with either a vehicle, olmesartan (10 mg/kg/day) or a combination of nonspecific vasodilators (hydralazine 15 mg/kg/day, hydrochlorothiazide 6 mg/kg/day, and reserpine 0.3 mg/kg/day; HHR) from the age of 7-25 weeks.<h4>Results</h4>OLETF rats were hypertensive and had microalbuminuria from 9 weeks of age. At 15 weeks, OLETF rats had higher Ang II levels in the kidney, larger glomerular desmin-staining areas (an index of podocyte injury), and lower gene expression of nephrin in juxtamedullary glomeruli, than nondiabetic Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats. At 25 weeks, OLETF rats showed overt albuminuria, and higher levels of Ang II in the kidney and larger glomerular desmin-staining areas in superficial and juxtamedullary glomeruli compared to LETO rats. Reductions in mRNA levels of nephrin were also observed in superficial and juxtamedullary glomeruli. Although olmesartan did not affect glucose metabolism, it decreased blood pressure and prevented the renal changes in OLETF rats. HHR treatment also reduced blood pressure, but did not affect the renal parameters.<h4>Conclusions</h4>This study demonstrated that podocyte injury occurs in juxtamedullary glomeruli prior to superficial glomeruli in type 2 diabetic rats with microalbuminuria. Early treatment with an ARB may prevent the onset of albuminuria through its protective effects on juxtamedullary glomerular podocytes.
Project description:The podocyte is a highly specialized kidney glomerular epithelial cell that plays an essential role in glomerular filtration and is believed to be the target of numerous glomerular diseases leading to proteinuria. Despite the leaps in our understanding of podocyte biology, new methodologies are needed to facilitate research into the cell. Multiphoton microscopy (MPM) was used to image the nephrin knockout/green fluorescent protein (GFP) knock-in heterozygote (Nphs1(tm1Rkl)/J) mouse. The nephrin promoter restricts GFP expression to the podocytes that fluoresce green under excitation. From the exterior of an intact kidney, MPM can peer into the renal parenchyma and visualize the podocytes that outline the globular shape of the glomeruli. Details as fine as the podocyte's secondary processes can be resolved. In contrast, podocytes exhibit no fluorescence in the wildtype mouse and are invisible to MPM. Phenotypically, there are no significant differences between wildtype and Nphs1(tm1Rkl)/J mice in body weight, urinary albumin excretion, creatinine clearance, or glomerular depth. Interestingly, the glomeruli are closer to the kidney capsule in female mice, making the gender the preferred choice for MPM. For the first time, green fluorescent podocytes in a mouse model free of confounding phenotypes can be visualized unequivocally and in the "positive" by MPM, facilitating intravital studies of the podocyte.
Project description:Newborn mouse glomeruli are still immature with a morphological feature of an early capillary loop stage, but infant mice do not manifest proteinuria. Little is known about the molecular mechanism whereby infant mice are resistant to proteinuria. Nephrin and synaptopodin are crucial for slit diaphragm and foot process (FP) formation for avoiding proteinuria. Nephrin tyrosine phosphorylation means a transient biological signaling required for FP repair or extension during nephrotic disease. Using an immunohistochemical technique, we examined the natural course of nephrin, Wilms' tumor-1 (WT1) and synaptopodin at 16.5 days of embryonic age (E16.5d) and E19.5d, 7 days of post-neonatal age (P7d) and P42d during renal development of mice. As a result, nephrin and synaptopodin were detected at E19.5d in S-shaped bodies. WT1, a transcriptional factor for nephrin, was detected in nucleus in podocyte-like cells in all stages. Nephrin tyrosine phosphorylation was evident in glomeruli at P7d, and this was associated with an early-stage of FP extension. Inversely, nephrin phosphorylation became faint at P42d, along with maturated FP. Based on the present results, we suggest the sequential molecular mechanism to protect growing mice from proteinuria: (i) WT1-induced nephrin production by podocytes in S-shaped bodies at E19.5d; (ii) Synchronized induction of synaptopodin at the same period; and (iii) FP extension is initiated at a milk-suckling stage under a nephrin tyrosine-phosphorylated condition, while it is arrested at an adult stage, associated with a loss of nephrin-based signaling.
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:We describe here the size and location of nephrin, the first protein to be identified at the glomerular podocyte slit diaphragm. In Western blots, nephrin antibodies generated against the two terminal extracellular Ig domains of recombinant human nephrin recognized a 180-kDa protein in lysates of human glomeruli and a 150-kDa protein in transfected COS-7 cell lysates. In immunofluorescence, antibodies to this transmembrane protein revealed reactivity in the glomerular basement membrane region, whereas the podocyte cell bodies remained negative. In immunogold-stained thin sections, nephrin label was found at the slit between podocyte foot processes. The congenital nephrotic syndrome of the Finnish type (NPHS1), a disease in which the nephrin gene is mutated, is characterized by massive proteinuria already in utero and lack of slit diaphragm and foot processes. These features, together with the now demonstrated localization of nephrin to the slit diaphragm area, suggests an essential role for this protein in the normal glomerular filtration barrier. A zipper-like model for nephrin assembly in the slit diaphragm is discussed, based on the present and previous data.
Project description:Induction of heme oxygenase (HO)-1 is a key defense mechanism against oxidative stress. Compared with tubules, glomeruli are refractory to HO-1 upregulation in response to injury. This can be a disadvantage as it may be associated with insufficient production of cytoprotective heme-degradation metabolites. We, therefore, explored whether 1) targeted HO-1 expression can be achieved in glomeruli without altering their physiological integrity and 2) this expression reduces proteinuria in immune injury induced by an anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) antibody (Ab). We employed a 4.125-kb fragment of a mouse nephrin promoter downstream to which a FLAG-tagged hHO-1 cDNA sequence was inserted and subsequently generated transgenic mice from the FVB/N parental strain. There was a 16-fold higher transgene expression in the kidney than nonspecific background (liver) while the transprotein immunolocalized in glomerular epithelial cells (GEC). There was no change in urinary protein excretion, indicating that GEC-targeted HO-1 expression had no effect on glomerular protein permeability. Urinary protein excretion in transgenic mice with anti-GBM Ab injury (days 3 and 6) was significantly lower compared with wild-type controls. There was no significant change in renal expression levels of profibrotic (TGF-beta1) or anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines in transgenic mice with anti-GBM Ab injury. These observations indicate that GEC-targeted HO-1 expression does not alter glomerular physiological integrity and reduces proteinuria in glomerular immune injury.
Project description:<b>Background:</b> C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) plays a crucial role in mediating podocyte dysfunction, proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis. However, the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. Here we studied the role of β-catenin in mediating CXCR4-triggered podocyte injury. <b>Methods:</b> Mouse models of proteinuric kidney diseases were used to assess CXCR4 and β-catenin expression. We utilized cultured podocytes and glomeruli to delineate the signal pathways involved. Conditional knockout mice with podocyte-specific deletion of CXCR4 were generated and used to corroborate a role of CXCR4/β-catenin in podocyte injury and proteinuria. <b>Results:</b> Both CXCR4 and β-catenin were induced and colocalized in the glomerular podocytes in several models of proteinuric kidney diseases. Activation of CXCR4 by its ligand SDF-1α stimulated β-catenin activation but did not affect the expression of Wnt ligands <i>in vitro</i>. Blockade of β-catenin signaling by ICG-001 preserved podocyte signature proteins and inhibited Snail1 and MMP-7 expression <i>in vitro</i> and <i>ex vivo</i>. Mechanistically, activation of CXCR4 by SDF-1α caused the formation of CXCR4/β-arrestin-1/Src signalosome in podocytes, which led to sequential phosphorylation of Src, EGFR, ERK1/2 and GSK-3β and ultimately β-catenin stabilization and activation. Silencing β-arrestin-1 abolished this cascade of events and inhibited β-catenin in response to CXCR4 stimulation. Podocyte-specific knockout of CXCR4 in mice abolished β-catenin activation, preserved podocyte integrity, reduced proteinuria and ameliorated glomerulosclerosis after Adriamycin injury. <b>Conclusion:</b> These results suggest that CXCR4 promotes podocyte dysfunction and proteinuria by assembling CXCR4/β-arrestin-1/Src signalosome, which triggers a cascade of signal events leading to β-catenin activation.
Project description:The slit diaphragm (SD), the specialized intercellular junction between renal glomerular epithelial cells (podocytes), provides a selective-filtration barrier in renal glomeruli. Dysfunction of the SD results in glomerular diseases that are characterized by disappearance of SD components, such as nephrin, from the cell surface. Although the importance of endocytosis and degradation of SD components for the maintenance of SD integrity has been suggested, the dynamic nature of the turnover of intact cell-surface SD components remained unclear. Using isolated rat glomeruli we show that the turnover rates of cell-surface SD components are relatively high; they almost completely disappear from the cell surface within minutes. The exocytosis, but not endocytosis, of heterologously expressed nephrin requires the kinase activity of the cell polarity regulator atypical protein kinase C (aPKC). Consistently, we demonstrate that podocyte-specific deletion of aPKC? resulted in a decrease of cell-surface localization of SD components, causing massive proteinuria. In conclusion, the regulation of SD turnover by aPKC is crucial for the maintenance of SD integrity and defects in aPKC signalling can lead to proteinuria. These findings not only reveal the pivotal importance of the dynamic turnover of cell-surface SD components but also suggest a novel pathophysiological basis in glomerular disease.