Hypoxia has been proposed as an important microenvironmental factor in the development of tissue fibrosis; however, the underlying mechanisms are not well defined. To examine the role of hypoxia-inducible factor–1 (HIF-1), a key mediator of cellular adaptation to hypoxia, in the development of fibrosis in mice, we inactivated Hif-1α in primary renal epithelial cells and in proximal tubules of kidneys subjected to unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) using Cre-loxP–mediated gene targeting. We found that Hif-1α enhanced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in vitro and induced epithelial cell migration through upregulation of lysyl oxidase genes. Genetic ablation of epithelial Hif-1α inhibited the development of tubulointerstitial fibrosis in UUO kidneys, which was associated with decreased interstitial collagen deposition, decreased inflammatory cell infiltration, and a reduction in the number of fibroblast-specific protein–1–expressing (FSP-1–expressing) interstitial cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that increased renal HIF-1α expression is associated with tubulointerstitial injury in patients with chronic kidney disease. Thus, we provide clinical and genetic evidence that activation of HIF-1 signaling in renal epithelial cells is associated with the development of chronic renal disease and may promote fibrogenesis by increasing expression of extracellular matrix–modifying factors and lysyl oxidase genes and by facilitating EMT.
Debra F. Higgins, Kuniko Kimura, Wanja M. Bernhardt, Nikita Shrimanker, Yasuhiro Akai, Bernd Hohenstein, Yoshihiko Saito, Randall S. Johnson, Matthias Kretzler, Clemens D. Cohen, Kai-Uwe Eckardt, Masayuki Iwano, Volker H. Haase
The activation of interstitial fibroblasts to become α-SMA–positive myofibroblasts is an essential step in the evolution of chronic kidney fibrosis, as myofibroblasts are responsible for the production and deposition of the ECM components that are a hallmark of the disease. Here we describe a signaling pathway that leads to this activation. Tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) promoted TGF-β1–mediated α-SMA and type I collagen expression in rat kidney interstitial fibroblasts. This fibrogenic effect was independent of its protease activity but required its membrane receptor, the LDL receptor–related protein 1 (LRP-1). In rat kidney fibroblasts, tPA induced rapid LRP-1 tyrosine phosphorylation and enhanced β1 integrin recruitment by facilitating the LRP-1/β1 integrin complex formation. Blockade or knockdown of β1 integrin abolished type I collagen and α-SMA expression. Furthermore, inhibition of the integrin-linked kinase (ILK), a downstream effector of β1 integrin, or disruption of β1 integrin/ILK engagement, abrogated the tPA action, whereas ectopic expression of ILK mimicked tPA in promoting myofibroblast activation. In murine renal interstitium after obstructive injury, tPA and α-SMA colocalized with LRP-1, and tPA deficiency reduced LRP-1/β1 integrin interaction and myofibroblast activation. These findings show that tPA induces LRP-1 tyrosine phosphorylation, which in turn facilitates the LRP-1–mediated recruitment of β1 integrin and downstream ILK signaling, thereby leading to myofibroblast activation. This study implicates tPA as a fibrogenic cytokine that promotes the progression of kidney fibrosis.
Kebin Hu, Chuanyue Wu, Wendy M. Mars, Youhua Liu
Phosphate homeostasis is maintained by a counterbalance between efflux from the kidney and influx from intestine and bone. FGF23 is a bone-derived phosphaturic hormone that acts on the kidney to increase phosphate excretion and suppress biosynthesis of vitamin D. FGF23 signals with highest efficacy through several FGF receptors (FGFRs) bound by the transmembrane protein Klotho as a coreceptor. Since most tissues express FGFR, expression of Klotho determines FGF23 target organs. Here we identify the parathyroid as a target organ for FGF23 in rats. We show that the parathyroid gland expressed Klotho and 2 FGFRs. The administration of recombinant FGF23 led to an increase in parathyroid Klotho levels. In addition, FGF23 activated the MAPK pathway in the parathyroid through ERK1/2 phosphorylation and increased early growth response 1 mRNA levels. Using both rats and in vitro rat parathyroid cultures, we show that FGF23 suppressed both parathyroid hormone (PTH) secretion and PTH gene expression. The FGF23-induced decrease in PTH secretion was prevented by a MAPK inhibitor. These data indicate that FGF23 acts directly on the parathyroid through the MAPK pathway to decrease serum PTH. This bone-parathyroid endocrine axis adds a new dimension to the understanding of mineral homeostasis.
Iddo Z. Ben-Dov, Hillel Galitzer, Vardit Lavi-Moshayoff, Regina Goetz, Makoto Kuro-o, Moosa Mohammadi, Roy Sirkis, Tally Naveh-Many, Justin Silver
Here we provide evidence for a critical role of the transient receptor potential cation channel, subfamily V, member 4 (TRPV4) in normal bladder function. Immunofluorescence demonstrated TRPV4 expression in mouse and rat urothelium and vascular endothelium, but not in other cell types of the bladder. Intracellular Ca2+ measurements on urothelial cells isolated from mice revealed a TRPV4-dependent response to the selective TRPV4 agonist 4α-phorbol 12,13-didecanoate and to hypotonic cell swelling. Behavioral studies demonstrated that TRPV4–/– mice manifest an incontinent phenotype but show normal exploratory activity and anxiety-related behavior. Cystometric experiments revealed that TRPV4–/– mice exhibit a lower frequency of voiding contractions as well as a higher frequency of nonvoiding contractions. Additionally, the amplitude of the spontaneous contractions in explanted bladder strips from TRPV4–/– mice was significantly reduced. Finally, a decreased intravesical stretch-evoked ATP release was found in isolated whole bladders from TRPV4–/– mice. These data demonstrate a previously unrecognized role for TRPV4 in voiding behavior, raising the possibility that TRPV4 plays a critical role in urothelium-mediated transduction of intravesical mechanical pressure.
Thomas Gevaert, Joris Vriens, Andrei Segal, Wouter Everaerts, Tania Roskams, Karel Talavera, Grzegorz Owsianik, Wolfgang Liedtke, Dirk Daelemans, Ilse Dewachter, Fred Van Leuven, Thomas Voets, Dirk De Ridder, Bernd Nilius
Ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI) may activate innate immunity through the engagement of TLRs by endogenous ligands. TLR4 expressed within the kidney is a potential mediator of innate activation and inflammation. Using a mouse model of kidney IRI, we demonstrated a significant increase in TLR4 expression by tubular epithelial cells (TECs) and infiltrating leukocytes within the kidney following ischemia. TLR4 signaling through the MyD88-dependent pathway was required for the full development of kidney IRI, as both TLR4–/– and MyD88–/– mice were protected against kidney dysfunction, tubular damage, neutrophil and macrophage accumulation, and expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. In vitro, WT kidney TECs produced proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines and underwent apoptosis after ischemia. These effects were attenuated in TLR4–/– and MyD88–/– TECs. In addition, we demonstrated upregulation of the endogenous ligands high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), hyaluronan, and biglycan, providing circumstantial evidence that one or more of these ligands may be the source of TLR4 activation. To determine the relative contribution of TLR4 expression by parenchymal cells or leukocytes to kidney damage during IRI, we generated chimeric mice. TLR4–/– mice engrafted with WT hematopoietic cells had significantly lower serum creatinine and less tubular damage than WT mice reconstituted with TLR4–/– BM, suggesting that TLR4 signaling in intrinsic kidney cells plays the dominant role in mediating kidney damage.
Huiling Wu, Gang Chen, Kate R. Wyburn, Jianlin Yin, Patrick Bertolino, Josette M. Eris, Stephen I. Alexander, Alexandra F. Sharland, Steven J. Chadban
With-no-lysine (WNK) kinases are a novel family of protein kinases characterized by an atypical placement of the catalytic lysine. Mutations of 2 family members, WNK1 and WNK4, cause pseudohypoaldosteronism type 2 (PHA2), an autosomal-dominant disease characterized by hypertension and hyperkalemia. WNK1 and WNK4 stimulate clathrin-dependent endocytosis of renal outer medullar potassium 1 (ROMK1), and PHA2-causing mutations of WNK4 increase the endocytosis. How WNKs stimulate endocytosis of ROMK1 and how mutations of WNK4 increase the endocytosis are unknown. Intersectin (ITSN) is a multimodular endocytic scaffold protein. Here we show that WNK1 and WNK4 interacted with ITSN and that the interactions were crucial for stimulation of endocytosis of ROMK1 by WNKs. The stimulation of endocytosis of ROMK1 by WNK1 and WNK4 required specific proline-rich motifs of WNKs, but did not require their kinase activity. WNK4 interacted with ROMK1 as well as with ITSN. Disease-causing WNK4 mutations enhanced interactions of WNK4 with ITSN and ROMK1, leading to increased endocytosis of ROMK1. These results provide a molecular mechanism for stimulation of endocytosis of ROMK1 by WNK kinases.
Guocheng He, Hao-Ran Wang, Shao-Kuei Huang, Chou-Long Huang
Primary defects in either podocytes or the glomerular basement membrane (GBM) cause proteinuria, a fact that complicates defining the barrier to albumin. Laminin β2 (LAMB2) is a GBM component required for proper functioning of the glomerular filtration barrier. To investigate the GBM’s role in glomerular filtration, we characterized GBM and overlying podocyte architecture in relation to development and progression of proteinuria in Lamb2–/– mice, which model Pierson syndrome, a rare congenital nephrotic syndrome. We found ectopic deposition of several laminins and mislocalization of anionic sites in the GBM, which together suggest that the Lamb2–/– GBM is severely disorganized, although it is ultrastructurally intact. Importantly, albuminuria was detectable shortly after birth and preceded podocyte foot process effacement and loss of slit diaphragms by at least 7 days. Expression and localization of slit diaphragm and foot process–associated proteins appeared normal at early stages. GBM permeability to the electron-dense tracer ferritin was dramatically elevated in Lamb2–/– mice, even before widespread foot process effacement. Increased ferritin permeability was not observed in nephrotic CD2-associated protein–null (Cd2ap–/–) mice, which have a primary podocyte defect. Together these data show that the GBM serves as a barrier to protein in vivo and that the glomerular slit diaphragm alone is not sufficient to prevent the passage of albumin into the urinary space.
George Jarad, Jeanette Cunningham, Andrey S. Shaw, Jeffrey H. Miner
A properly established and maintained podocyte intercellular junction, or slit diaphragm, is a necessary component of the selective permeability barrier of the kidney glomerulus. The observation that mutation or deletion of the slit diaphragm transmembrane protein nephrin results in failure of podocyte foot process morphogenesis and concomitant proteinuria first suggested the hypothesis that nephrin serves as a component of a signaling complex that directly integrates podocyte junctional integrity with cytoskeletal dynamics. The observations made herein provide the first direct evidence to our knowledge for a phosphorylation-mediated signaling mechanism by which this integrative function is derived. Our data support the model that during podocyte intercellular junction formation, engagement of the nephrin ectodomain induces transient Fyn catalytic activity that results in nephrin phosphorylation on specific nephrin cytoplasmic domain tyrosine residues. We found that this nephrin phosphorylation event resulted in recruitment of the SH2–SH3 domain–containing adapter protein Nck and assembly of actin filaments in an Nck-dependent fashion. Considered in the context of the role of nephrin family proteins in other organisms and the integral relationship of actin dynamics and junction formation, these observations establish a function for nephrin in regulating actin cytoskeletal dynamics.
Rakesh Verma, Iulia Kovari, Abdul Soofi, Deepak Nihalani, Kevin Patrie, Lawrence B. Holzman
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is the most common primary glomerular diagnosis resulting in end-stage renal disease. Defects in several podocyte proteins have been implicated in the etiology of FSGS, including podocin, α-actinin–4, CD2-associated protein (CD2AP), and TRPC6. Despite our growing understanding of genes involved in the pathogenesis of focal segmental sclerosis, the vast majority of patients with this disease, even those with a familial linkage, lack a clear genetic diagnosis. Here, we tested whether combinations of genetic heterozygosity (bigenic heterozygosity) that alone do not result in clinical kidney disease could function together to enhance susceptibility to glomerular damage and FSGS. Combinations of Cd2ap heterozygosity and heterozygosity of either synaptopodin (Synpo) or Fyn proto-oncogene (Fyn) but not kin of IRRE like 1 (Neph1) resulted in spontaneous proteinuria and in FSGS-like glomerular damage. These genetic interactions were also reflected at a functional level, as we found that CD2AP associates with Fyn and Synpo but not with Neph1. This demonstrates that bigenic heterozygosity can lead to FSGS and suggests that combined mutations in 2 or multiple podocyte genes may be a common etiology for glomerular disease.
Tobias B. Huber, Christopher Kwoh, Hui Wu, Katsuhiko Asanuma, Markus Gödel, Björn Hartleben, Ken J. Blumer, Jeffrey H. Miner, Peter Mundel, Andrey S. Shaw
We set out to confirm the long-held, but untested, assumption that dietary salt affects proximal reabsorption through reciprocal effects on the renin-angiotensin system in a way that facilitates salt homeostasis. Wistar rats were fed standard or high-salt diets for 7 days and then subjected to renal micropuncture for determination of single-nephron GFR (SNGFR) and proximal reabsorption. The tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF) system was used as a tool to manipulate SNGFR in order to distinguish primary changes in net proximal reabsorption (Jprox) from changes due to glomerulotubular balance. The influence of Ang II over Jprox was determined by the sensitivity of Jprox to the AT1 receptor antagonist, losartan. Plasma, whole kidneys, and fluid from midproximal tubules were assayed for Ang II content by radioimmunoassay. In rats on the standard diet, losartan reduced Jprox by 25% and reduced the maximum range of the TGF response by 50%. The high-salt diet suppressed plasma and whole-kidney Ang II levels. But the high-salt diet failed to reduce the impact of losartan on Jprox or the TGF response and actually caused tubular fluid Ang II content to increase. The persistent effect of Ang II on Jprox prevented a major rise in late proximal flow rate in response to the high-salt diet. These observations challenge the traditional model and indicate that the role of proximal tubular Ang II in salt-replete rats is to stabilize nephron function rather than to contribute to salt homeostasis.