Nuclear exclusion of YAP exacerbates podocyte apoptosis and disease progression in Adriamycin-induced focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
ABSTRACT: Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a chronic glomerular disease with poor clinical outcomes. Podocyte loss via apoptosis is one important mechanism underlying the pathogenesis of FSGS. Recently, Yes-associated-protein (YAP), a key downstream protein in the Hippo pathway, was identified as an activator for multiple gene transcriptional factors in the nucleus to control cell proliferation and apoptosis. To investigate the potential role of YAP in the progression of FSGS, we examined kidney samples from patients with minimal change disease or FSGS and found that increases in podocyte apoptosis is positively correlated with the cytoplasmic distribution of YAP in human FSGS. Utilizing an established mT/mG transgenic mouse model and primary cultured podocytes, we found that YAP was distributed uniformly in nucleus and cytoplasm in the podocytes of control animals. Adriamycin treatment induced gradual nuclear exclusion of YAP with enhanced phospho-YAP/YAP ratio, accompanied by the induction of podocyte apoptosis both in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, we used verteporfin to treat an Adriamycin-induced FSGS mouse model, and found YAP inhibition by verteporfin induced nuclear exclusion of YAP, thus increasing podocyte apoptosis and accelerating disease progression. Therefore, our findings suggest that YAP nuclear distribution and activation in podocytes is an important endogenous anti-apoptotic mechanism during the progression of FSGS.
Project description:FSGS is the most common primary glomerular disease underlying ESRD in the United States and is increasing in incidence globally. FSGS results from podocyte injury, yet the mechanistic details of disease pathogenesis remain unclear. This has resulted in an unmet clinical need for cell-specific therapy in the treatment of FSGS and other proteinuric kidney diseases. We previously identified Yes-associated protein (YAP) as a prosurvival signaling molecule, the in vitro silencing of which increases podocyte susceptibility to apoptotic stimulus. YAP is a potent oncogene that is a prominent target for chemotherapeutic drug development. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that podocyte-specific deletion of Yap leads to proteinuric kidney disease through increased podocyte apoptosis. Yap was selectively silenced in podocytes using Cre-mediated recombination controlled by the podocin promoter. Yap silencing in podocytes resulted in podocyte apoptosis, podocyte depletion, proteinuria, and an increase in serum creatinine. Histologically, features characteristic of FSGS, including mesangial sclerosis, podocyte foot process effacement, tubular atrophy, interstitial fibrosis, and casts, were observed. In human primary FSGS, we noted reduced glomerular expression of YAP. Taken together, these results suggest a role for YAP as a physiologic antagonist of podocyte apoptosis, the signaling of which is essential for maintaining the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier. These data suggest potential nephrotoxicity with strategies directed toward inhibition of YAP function. Further studies should evaluate the role of YAP in proteinuric glomerular disease pathogenesis and its potential utility as a therapeutic target.
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: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:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a common kidney disease that results in nephrotic syndrome. FSGS arises from dysfunction and apoptosis of podocytes in the glomerulus of the kidney, leading to podocytopathy. The molecular mechanisms underlying podocyte apoptosis remain incompletely understood. Using an array of gene expression profiling, PCR, and in situ hybridization assay, we found here that the levels of the long noncoding RNA LOC105374325 were elevated in the renal podocytes of individuals with FSGS. We also observed that the microRNAs miR-34c and miR-196a/b down-regulated the expression of the apoptosis regulators BCL2-associated X, apoptosis regulator (Bax), and BCL2 antagonist/killer 1 (Bak) in podocytes. Competitive binding between LOC105374325 and miR-34c or miR-196a/b increased Bax and Bak levels and caused podocyte apoptosis. Of note, the mitogen-activated protein kinase P38 and the transcription factor CCAAT enhancer-binding protein ? (C/EBP?) up-regulated LOC105374325 expression. P38 inhibition or C/EBP? silencing decreased LOC105374325 levels and inhibited apoptosis in adriamycin-treated podocytes. LOC105374325 overexpression decreased miR-34c and miR-196a/b levels, increased Bax and Bak levels, and induced proteinuria and focal segmental lesions in mice. In conclusion, activation of the P38/C/EBP? pathway stimulates the expression of LOC105374325, which, in turn, increases Bax and Bak levels and causes apoptosis by competitively binding to miR-34c and miR-196a/b in the podocytes of individuals with FSGS.
Project description:Maintenance of mitochondrial structure and function is critical for preventing podocyte apoptosis and eventual glomerulosclerosis in the kidney; however, the transcription factors that regulate mitochondrial function in podocyte injury remain to be identified. Here, we identified Krüppel-like factor 6 (KLF6), a zinc finger domain transcription factor, as an essential regulator of mitochondrial function in podocyte apoptosis. We observed that podocyte-specific deletion of Klf6 increased the susceptibility of a resistant mouse strain to adriamycin-induced (ADR-induced) focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). KLF6 expression was induced early in response to ADR in mice and cultured human podocytes, and prevented mitochondrial dysfunction and activation of intrinsic apoptotic pathways in these podocytes. Promoter analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation studies revealed that putative KLF6 transcriptional binding sites are present in the promoter of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase assembly gene (SCO2), which is critical for preventing cytochrome c release and activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Additionally, KLF6 expression was reduced in podocytes from HIV-1 transgenic mice as well as in renal biopsies from patients with HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) and FSGS. Together, these findings indicate that KLF6-dependent regulation of the cytochrome c oxidase assembly gene is critical for maintaining mitochondrial function and preventing podocyte apoptosis.
Project description:Podocytes are known to play a determining role in the progression of proteinuric kidney disease. N<sup>6</sup>-methyladenosine (m6A), as the most abundant chemical modification in eukaryotic mRNA, has been reported to participate in various pathological processes. However, its role in podocyte injury remains unclear. In this study, we observed the elevated m6A RNA levels and the most upregulated METTL14 expression in kidneys of mice with adriamycin (ADR) and diabetic nephropathy. METTL14 was also evidently increased in renal biopsy samples from patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and diabetic nephropathy and in cultured human podocytes with ADR or advanced glycation end product (AGE) treatment in vitro. Functionally, we generated mice with podocyte-specific METTL14 deletion, and identified METTL14 knockout in podocytes improved glomerular function and alleviated podocyte injury, characterized by activation of autophagy and inhibition of apoptosis and inflammation, in mice with ADR nephropathy. Similar to the results in vivo, knockdown of METTL14 facilitated autophagy and alleviated apoptosis and inflammation in podocytes under ADR or AGE condition in vitro. Mechanically, we identified METTL14 knockdown upregulated the level of Sirt1, a well-known protective deacetylase in proteinuric kidney diseases, in podocytes with ADR or AGE treatment. The results of MeRIP-qPCR and dual-luciferase reporter assay indicated METTL14 promoted Sirt1 mRNA m6A modification and degradation in injured podocytes. Our findings suggest METTL14-dependent RNA m6A modification contributes to podocyte injury through posttranscriptional regulation of Sirt1 mRNA, which provide a potential approach for the diagnosis and treatment of podocytopathies.
Project description:Podocytes are highly specialized epithelial cells that are essential for an intact glomerular filtration barrier in the kidney. Several glomerular diseases like focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) are initially due to podocyte injury and loss. Since causative treatments for FSGS are not available until today, drug screening is of great relevance. In order to test a high number of drugs, FSGS needs to be reliably induced in a suitable animal model. The zebrafish larva is an ideal model for kidney research due to the vast amount of offsprings, the rapid development of a simple kidney and a remarkable homology to the mammalian glomerulus. Zebrafish larvae possess a size-selective glomerular filtration barrier at 4 days post fertilization including podocytes with interdigitating foot processes that are connected by a slit membrane. Adriamycin is an anthracycline which is often used in mice and rats to induce a FSGS-like phenotype. In this study, we aimed to induce a similar phenotype to zebrafish larvae by adding adriamycin to the tank water in different concentrations. Surprisingly, zebrafish larvae did not develop glomerular injury and displayed an intact filtration barrier after treatment with adriamycin. This was shown by (immuno-) histology, our filtration assay, in vivo imaging by 2-photon microcopy, RT-(q)PCR as well as transmission electron microscopy. To summarize, adriamycin is unable to induce a podocyte-related damage in zebrafish larvae and therefore major effort must be made to establish FSGS in zebrafish larvae to identify effective drugs by screenings.
Project description:Podocyte apoptosis is a major mechanism that leads to proteinuria in many chronic kidney diseases. However, the concert mechanisms that cause podocyte apoptosis in these kidney diseases are not fully understood. The Rho family of small GTPases has been shown to be required in maintaining podocyte structure and function. Recent studies have indicated that podocyte-specific deletion of Cdc42 in vivo, but not of RhoA or Rac1, leads to congenital nephrotic syndrome and glomerulosclerosis. However, the underlying cellular events in podocyte controlled by Cdc42 remain unclear. Here, we assessed the cellular mechanisms by which Cdc42 regulates podocyte apoptosis. We found that the expression of Cdc42 and its activity were significantly decreased in high glucose-, lipopolysaccharide- or adriamycin-injured podocytes. Reduced Cdc42 expression in vitro and in vivo by small interfering RNA and selective Cdc42 inhibitor ML-141, respectively, caused podocyte apoptosis and proteinuria. Our results further demonstrated that insufficient Cdc42 or Nwasp, its downstream effector, could decrease the mRNA and protein expression of YAP, which had been regarded as an anti-apoptosis protein in podocyte. Moreover, our data indicated that the loss of stress fibers caused by Cdc42/Nwasp deficiency also decreased Yes-associated protein (YAP) mRNA and protein expression, and induced podocyte apoptosis. Podocyte apoptosis induced by Cdc42/Nwasp/stress fiber deficiency was significantly inhibited by overexpressing-active YAP. Thus, the Cdc42/Nwasp/stress fibers/YAP signal pathway may potentially play an important role in regulating podocyte apoptosis. Maintaining necessary Cdc42 would be one potent way to prevent proteinuria kidney diseases.
Project description:<b>Objective:</b> Activation of β-catenin causes podocyte injury and proteinuria, but how β-catenin signalling is regulated during podocyte injury remains elusive. Nuclear receptor interacting protein 2 (NRIP2) modulates the Wnt pathway in colorectal cancer-initiating cells, but the role of NRIP2 in podocyte injury has not yet been investigated. We aimed to examine the interaction between NRIP2 and β-catenin signalling. <b>Materials and Methods:</b> Knockdown or overexpression of NRIP2 and β-catenin and chemical treatments were performed in cultured human podocytes. Immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting and immunofluorescence assays were used to assess protein interactions and expression. Data from the GEO dataset and kidney tissues from patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and surgical nephrectomy were examined. An adriamycin (ADR) nephropathy model was established in NRIP2 knockout mice. <b>Results:</b> NRIP2 knockdown accelerated β-catenin degradation, which was reversed by MG132; specifically, NRIP2 bound β-catenin and stabilized it to prevent its degradation through the ubiquitin proteasomal pathway. Overexpression of NRIP2 led to β-catenin activation and Snail1 induction, and these effects were attenuated by β-catenin knockdown. NRIP2 knockdown blocked ADR-stimulated β-catenin activation. In ADR mice, genetic knockout of Nrip2 ameliorated podocyte injury and loss, glomerulosclerosis, and proteinuria by inhibiting β-catenin activation. Moreover, NRIP2 was significantly upregulated in podocytes of FSGS patients and colocalized with nuclear β-catenin. <b>Conclusion:</b> These results established NRIP2 as a stabilizer of β-catenin activation through the ubiquitin proteasomal pathway in podocyte injury.
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.