Chronic kidney disease is characterized by interstitial fibrosis and proliferation of scar-secreting myofibroblasts, ultimately leading to end-stage renal disease. The hedgehog (Hh) pathway transcriptional effectors GLI1 and GLI2 are expressed in myofibroblast progenitors; however, the role of these effectors during fibrogenesis is poorly understood. Here, we demonstrated that GLI2, but not GLI1, drives myofibroblast cell-cycle progression in cultured mesenchymal stem cell–like progenitors. In animals exposed to unilateral ureteral obstruction, Hh pathway suppression by expression of the GLI3 repressor in GLI1+ myofibroblast progenitors limited kidney fibrosis. Myofibroblast-specific deletion of
Rafael Kramann, Susanne V. Fleig, Rebekka K. Schneider, Steven L. Fabian, Derek P. DiRocco, Omar Maarouf, Janewit Wongboonsin, Yoichiro Ikeda, Dirk Heckl, Steven L. Chang, Helmut G. Rennke, Sushrut S. Waikar, Benjamin D. Humphreys
Lowering GLI2, but not GLI1, levels by RNAi induces cell-cycle arrest of MSC-like cells in vitro.