Dominantly inherited mutations in ACTN4, which encodes α-actinin-4, cause a form of human focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). By homologous recombination in ES cells, we developed a mouse model deficient in Actn4. Mice homozygous for the targeted allele have no detectable α-actinin-4 protein expression. The number of homozygous mice observed was lower than expected under mendelian inheritance. Surviving mice homozygous for the targeted allele show progressive proteinuria, glomerular disease, and typically death by several months of age. Light microscopic analysis shows extensive glomerular disease and proteinaceous casts. Electron microscopic examination shows focal areas of podocyte foot-process effacement in young mice, and diffuse effacement and globally disrupted podocyte morphology in older mice. Despite the widespread distribution of α-actinin-4, histologic examination of mice showed abnormalities only in the kidneys. In contrast to the dominantly inherited human form of ACTN4-associated FSGS, here we show that the absence of α-actinin-4 causes a recessive form of disease in mice. Cell motility, as measured by lymphocyte chemotaxis assays, was increased in the absence of α-actinin-4. We conclude that α-actinin-4 is required for normal glomerular function. We further conclude that the nonsarcomeric forms of α-actinin (α-actinin-1 and α-actinin-4) are not functionally redundant. In addition, these genetic studies demonstrate that the nonsarcomeric α-actinin-4 is involved in the regulation of cell movement.
Claudine H. Kos, Tu Cam Le, Sumita Sinha, Joel M. Henderson, Sung Han Kim, Hikaru Sugimoto, Raghu Kalluri, Robert E. Gerszten, Martin R. Pollak
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a disease characterized by microangiopathic hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and acute renal failure. Recent studies have identified a factor H–associated form of HUS, caused by gene mutations that cluster in the C-terminal region of the complement regulator factor H. Here we report how three mutations (E1172Stop, R1210C, and R1215G; each of the latter two identified in three independent cases from different, unrelated families) affect protein function. All three mutations cause reduced binding to the central complement component C3b/C3d to heparin, as well as to endothelial cells. These defective features of the mutant factor H proteins explain progression of endothelial cell and microvascular damage in factor H–associated genetic HUS and indicate a protective role of factor H for tissue integrity during thrombus formation.
Tamara Manuelian, Jens Hellwage, Seppo Meri, Jessica Caprioli, Marina Noris, Stefan Heinen, Mihaly Jozsi, Hartmut P.H. Neumann, Giuseppe Remuzzi, Peter F. Zipfel
Preeclampsia, a syndrome affecting 5% of pregnancies, causes substantial maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. The pathophysiology of preeclampsia remains largely unknown. It has been hypothesized that placental ischemia is an early event, leading to placental production of a soluble factor or factors that cause maternal endothelial dysfunction, resulting in the clinical findings of hypertension, proteinuria, and edema. Here, we confirm that placental soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt1), an antagonist of VEGF and placental growth factor (PlGF), is upregulated in preeclampsia, leading to increased systemic levels of sFlt1 that fall after delivery. We demonstrate that increased circulating sFlt1 in patients with preeclampsia is associated with decreased circulating levels of free VEGF and PlGF, resulting in endothelial dysfunction in vitro that can be rescued by exogenous VEGF and PlGF. Additionally, VEGF and PlGF cause microvascular relaxation of rat renal arterioles in vitro that is blocked by sFlt1. Finally, administration of sFlt1 to pregnant rats induces hypertension, proteinuria, and glomerular endotheliosis, the classic lesion of preeclampsia. These observations suggest that excess circulating sFlt1 contributes to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia.
Sharon E. Maynard, Jiang-Yong Min, Jaime Merchan, Kee-Hak Lim, Jianyi Li, Susanta Mondal, Towia A. Libermann, James P. Morgan, Frank W. Sellke, Isaac E. Stillman, Franklin H. Epstein, Vikas P. Sukhatme, S. Ananth Karumanchi
Renal tubulointerstitial injury is characterized by inflammatory cell infiltrate; however, the stimuli for leukocyte recruitment are not fully understood. IL-8 is a potent chemokine produced by proximal tubular epithelial cells (PTECs). Whether nephrotic proteins stimulate tubular IL-8 expression remains unknown. Acute exposure of human PTECs to albumin induced IL-8 gene and protein expression time- and dose-dependently. Apical albumin predominantly stimulated basolateral IL-8 secretion. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay demonstrated nuclear translocation of NF-κB, and the p65/p50 subunits were activated. NF-κB activation and IL-8 secretion were attenuated by the NF-κB inhibitors pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate and cell-permeable peptide. Albumin upregulated intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, while exogenous H2O2 stimulated NF-κB translocation and IL-8 secretion. Albumin-induced ROS generation, NF-κB activation, and IL-8 secretion were endocytosis- and PKC-dependent as these downstream events were abrogated by the PI3K inhibitors LY294002 and wortmannin, and the PKC inhibitors GF109203X and staurosporin, respectively. In vivo, IL-8 mRNA expression was localized by in situ hybridization to the proximal tubules in nephrotic kidney tissues. The intensity of IL-8 immunostaining was higher in nephrotic than non-nephrotic subjects. In conclusion, albumin is a strong stimulus for tubular IL-8 expression, which occurs via NF-κB–dependent pathways through PKC activation and ROS generation.
Sydney Tang, Joseph C.K. Leung, Katsushige Abe, Kwok Wah Chan, Loretta Y.Y. Chan, Tak Mao Chan, Kar Neng Lai
Junwei Yang, Ryan W. Shultz, Wendy M. Mars, Rodney E. Wegner, Yingjian Li, Chunsun Dai, Kari Nejak, Youhua Liu
Peer Wulff, Volker Vallon, Dan Yang Huang, Harald Völkl, Fang Yu, Kerstin Richter, Martina Jansen, Michaela Schlünz, Karin Klingel, Johannes Loffing, Gunther Kauselmann, Michael R. Bösl, Florian Lang, Dietmar Kuhl