Renin cells are crucial for survival: they control fluid-electrolyte and blood pressure homeostasis, vascular development, regeneration, and oxygen delivery to tissues. During embryonic development, renin cells are progenitors for multiple cell types which retain the memory of the renin phenotype. When there is a threat to survival, those descendants are transformed and reenact the renin phenotype to restore homeostasis. We tested the hypothesis that the molecular memory of the renin phenotype resides in unique regions and states of these cells’ chromatin. Using renin cells at various stages of stimulation, we identified regions in the genome where the chromatin is open for transcription, mapped histone modifications characteristic of active enhancers such as H3K27ac and deposition of transcriptional activators such a Med1 whose deletion results in ablation of Renin expression and low blood pressure. Using the rank ordering of super-enhancers, epigenetic re-writing, and enhancer deletion analysis, we found that renin cells harbor a unique set of super-enhancers that determine their identity. The most prominent Renin super-enhancer may act as a chromatin sensor of signals that convey the physiologic status of the organism and is responsible for the transformation of renin cell descendants to the renin phenotype, a fundamental process to ensure homeostasis.
Maria Florencia Martinez, Silvia Medrano, Evan A. Brown, Turan Tufan, Stephen Shang, Nadia Bertoncello, Omar Guessoum, Mazhar Adli, Brian C. Belyea, Maria Luisa S. Sequeira Lopez, R. Ariel Gomez
Oxidative stress is an underlying component of acute and chronic kidney disease. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is a widely expressed redox-sensitive serine threonine kinase that activates p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases, and induces apoptotic, inflammatory, and fibrotic signaling in settings of oxidative stress. Herein, we describe the discovery and characterization of a potent and selective small molecule inhibitor of ASK1, GS-444217, and demonstrate the therapeutic potential of ASK1 inhibition to reduce kidney injury and fibrosis. Activation of the ASK1 pathway in glomerular and tubular compartments was confirmed in renal biopsies from patients with diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and was decreased by GS-444217 in several rodent models of kidney injury and fibrosis that collectively represented the hallmarks of DKD pathology. Treatment with GS-444217 reduced progressive inflammation and fibrosis in the kidney and halted decline of glomerular filtration rate. Combination of GS-444217 with enalapril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, led to a greater reduction in proteinuria and regression of glomerulosclerosis. These results identify ASK1 as an important target for renal disease and support the clinical development of an ASK1 inhibitor for the treatment of diabetic kidney disease.
John T. Liles, Britton K. Corkey, Gregory T. Notte, Grant Budas, Eric B. Lansdon, Ford Hinojosa-Kirschenbaum, Shawn S. Badal, Michael Lee, Brian E. Schultz, Sarah Wise, Swetha Pendem, Michael Graupe, Laurie Castonguay, Keith A. Koch, Melanie H. Wong, Giuseppe A. Papalia, Dorothy M. French, Theodore Sullivan, Erik G. Huntzicker, Frank Y. Ma, David J. Nikolic-Paterson, Tareq Altuhaifi, Haichun Yang, Agnes B. Fogo, David G. Breckenridge
Podocyte malfunction occurs in autoimmune and nonautoimmune kidney disease. Calcium signaling is essential for podocyte injury, but the role of Ca2+/calmodulin–dependent kinase (CaMK) signaling in podocytes has not been fully explored. We report that podocytes from patients with lupus nephritis and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and lupus-prone and lipopolysaccharide- or adriamycin-treated mice display increased expression of CaMK IV (CaMK4), but not CaMK2. Mechanistically, CaMK4 modulated podocyte motility by altering the expression of the GTPases Rac1 and RhoA and suppressed the expression of nephrin, synaptopodin, and actin fibers in podocytes. In addition, it phosphorylated the scaffold protein 14-3-3β, which resulted in the release and degradation of synaptopodin. Targeted delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor to podocytes preserved their ultrastructure, averted immune complex deposition and crescent formation, and suppressed proteinuria in lupus-prone mice and proteinuria in mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide-induced podocyte injury by preserving nephrin/synaptopodin expression. In animals exposed to adriamycin, podocyte-specific delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor prevented and reversed podocyte injury and renal disease. We conclude that CaMK4 is pivotal in immune and nonimmune podocyte injury and that its targeted cell-specific inhibition preserves podocyte structure and function and should have therapeutic value in lupus nephritis and podocytopathies, including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
Kayaho Maeda, Kotaro Otomo, Nobuya Yoshida, Mones S. Abu-Asab, Kunihiro Ichinose, Tomoya Nishino, Michihito Kono, Andrew Ferretti, Rhea Bhargava, Shoichi Maruyama, Sean Bickerton, Tarek M. Fahmy, Maria G. Tsokos, George C. Tsokos
T cells play a key role in immune-mediated glomerulonephritis, but how cytotoxic T cells interact with podocytes remains unclear. To address this, we injected EGFP-specific CD8+ T cells from just EGFP death inducing (Jedi) mice into transgenic mice with podocyte-specific expression of EGFP. In healthy mice, Jedi T cells could not access EGFP+ podocytes. Conversely, when we induced nephrotoxic serum nephritis (NTSN) and injected Jedi T cells, EGFP+ podocyte transgenic mice showed enhanced proteinuria and higher blood urea levels. Morphometric analysis showed greater loss of EGFP+ podocytes, which was associated with severe crescentic and necrotizing glomerulonephritis. Notably, only glomeruli with disrupted Bowman’s capsule displayed massive CD8+ T cell infiltrates that were in direct contact with EGFP+ podocytes, causing their apoptosis. Thus, under control conditions with intact Bowman’s capsule, podocytes are not accessible to CD8+ T cells. However, breaches in Bowman’s capsule, as also noted in human crescentic glomerulonephritis, allow access of CD8+ T cells to the glomerular tuft and podocytes, resulting in their destruction. Through these mechanisms, a potentially reversible glomerulonephritis undergoes an augmentation process to a rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, leading to end-stage kidney disease. Translating these mechanistic insights to human crescentic nephritis should direct future therapeutic interventions at blocking CD8+ T cells, especially in progressive stages of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis.
Anqun Chen, Kyung Lee, Vivette D. D’Agati, Chengguo Wei, Jia Fu, Tian-Jun Guan, John Cijiang He, Detlef Schlondorff, Judith Agudo
Radiographic contrast agents cause acute kidney injury (AKI), yet the underlying pathogenesis is poorly understood. Nod-like receptor pyrin containing 3–deficient (Nlrp3-deficient) mice displayed reduced epithelial cell injury and inflammation in the kidney in a model of contrast-induced AKI (CI-AKI). Unexpectedly, contrast agents directly induced tubular epithelial cell death in vitro that was not dependent on Nlrp3. Rather, contrast agents activated the canonical Nlrp3 inflammasome in macrophages. Intravital microscopy revealed diatrizoate (DTA) uptake within minutes in perivascular CX3CR1+ resident phagocytes in the kidney. Following rapid filtration into the tubular luminal space, DTA was reabsorbed and concentrated in tubular epithelial cells via the brush border enzyme dipeptidase-1 in volume-depleted but not euvolemic mice. LysM-GFP+ macrophages recruited to the kidney interstitial space ingested contrast material transported from the urine via direct interactions with tubules. CI-AKI was dependent on resident renal phagocytes, IL-1, leukocyte recruitment, and dipeptidase-1. Levels of the inflammasome-related urinary biomarkers IL-18 and caspase-1 were increased immediately following contrast administration in patients undergoing coronary angiography, consistent with the acute renal effects observed in mice. Taken together, these data show that CI-AKI is a multistep process that involves immune surveillance by resident and infiltrating renal phagocytes, Nlrp3-dependent inflammation, and the tubular reabsorption of contrast via dipeptidase-1.
Arthur Lau, Hyunjae Chung, Takanori Komada, Jaye M. Platnich, Christina F. Sandall, Saurav Roy Choudhury, Justin Chun, Victor Naumenko, Bas G.J. Surewaard, Michelle C. Nelson, Annegret Ulke-Lemée, Paul L. Beck, Hallgrimur Benediktsson, Anthony M. Jevnikar, Sarah L. Snelgrove, Michael J. Hickey, Donna L. Senger, Matthew T. James, Justin A. Macdonald, Paul Kubes, Craig N. Jenne, Daniel A. Muruve
Progression of chronic kidney disease associated with progressive fibrosis and impaired tubular epithelial regeneration is still an unmet biomedical challenge, because once chronic lesions have manifested, no effective therapies are available as of yet for clinical use. Prompted by various studies across multiple organs demonstrating that preconditioning regimens to induce endogenous regenerative mechanisms protect various organs from later incurring acute injuries, we here aimed to gain insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying successful protection and to explore whether such pathways could be utilized to inhibit progression of chronic organ injury. We identified a protective mechanism that is controlled by the transcription factor ARNT, which effectively inhibits progression of chronic kidney injury by transcriptional induction of ALK3, the principal mediator of anti-fibrotic and pro-regenerative BMP signaling responses. We further report that ARNT expression itself is controlled by the FKBP12/YY1 transcriptional repressor complex, and that disruption of such FKBP12/YY1 complexes by picomolar FK506 at sub-immunosuppressive doses increases ARNT expression, subsequently leading to homodimeric ARNT-induced ALK3 transcription. Direct targeting of FKBP12/YY1 with in vivo-morpholino approaches or small molecule inhibitors including GPI-1046 were equally effective to induce ARNT expression with subsequent activation of ALK3-dependent canonical BMP signaling responses and attenuated chronic organ failure in models of chronic kidney, but also cardiac and liver injuries. In summary, we report an organ protective mechanism, which can be pharmacologically modulated by immunophilin ligands FK506, GPI-1046 or therapeutically targeted by in vivo-morpholino approaches.
Björn Tampe, Désirée Tampe, Gunsmaa Nyamsuren, Friederike Klöpper, Gregor Rapp, Anne Kauffels, Thomas Lorf, Elisabeth M. Zeisberg, Gerhard A. Müller, Raghu Kalluri, Samy Hakroush, Michael Zeisberg
Histone protein modifications control fate determination during normal development and dedifferentiation during disease. Here, we set out to determine the extent to which dynamic changes to histones affect the differentiated phenotype of ordinarily quiescent adult glomerular podocytes. To do this, we examined the consequences of shifting the balance of the repressive histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) mark in podocytes. Adriamycin nephrotoxicity and subtotal nephrectomy (SNx) studies indicated that deletion of the histone methylating enzyme EZH2 from podocytes decreased H3K27me3 levels and sensitized mice to glomerular disease. H3K27me3 was enriched at the promoter region of the Notch ligand Jag1 in podocytes, and derepression of Jag1 by EZH2 inhibition or knockdown facilitated podocyte dedifferentiation. Conversely, inhibition of the Jumonji C domain–containing demethylases Jmjd3 and UTX increased the H3K27me3 content of podocytes and attenuated glomerular disease in adriamycin nephrotoxicity, SNx, and diabetes. Podocytes in glomeruli from humans with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis or diabetic nephropathy exhibited diminished H3K27me3 and heightened UTX content. Analogous to human disease, inhibition of Jmjd3 and UTX abated nephropathy progression in mice with established glomerular injury and reduced H3K27me3 levels. Together, these findings indicate that ostensibly stable chromatin modifications can be dynamically regulated in quiescent cells and that epigenetic reprogramming can improve outcomes in glomerular disease by repressing the reactivation of developmental pathways.
Syamantak Majumder, Karina Thieme, Sri N. Batchu, Tamadher A. Alghamdi, Bridgit B. Bowskill, M. Golam Kabir, Youan Liu, Suzanne L. Advani, Kathryn E. White, Laurette Geldenhuys, Karthik K. Tennankore, Penelope Poyah, Ferhan S. Siddiqi, Andrew Advani
Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) is a frequent cause of chronic kidney disease. Here, we identified recessive mutations in the gene encoding the actin-binding protein advillin (AVIL) in 3 unrelated families with SRNS. While all AVIL mutations resulted in a marked loss of its actin-bundling ability, truncation of AVIL also disrupted colocalization with F-actin, thereby leading to impaired actin binding and severing. Additionally, AVIL colocalized and interacted with the phospholipase enzyme PLCE1 and with the ARP2/3 actin-modulating complex. Knockdown of AVIL in human podocytes reduced actin stress fibers at the cell periphery, prevented recruitment of PLCE1 to the ARP3-rich lamellipodia, blocked EGF-induced generation of diacylglycerol (DAG) by PLCE1, and attenuated the podocyte migration rate (PMR). These effects were reversed by overexpression of WT AVIL but not by overexpression of any of the 3 patient-derived AVIL mutants. The PMR was increased by overexpression of WT Avil or PLCE1, or by EGF stimulation; however, this increased PMR was ameliorated by inhibition of the ARP2/3 complex, indicating that ARP-dependent lamellipodia formation occurs downstream of AVIL and PLCE1 function. Together, these results delineate a comprehensive pathogenic axis of SRNS that integrates loss of AVIL function with alterations in the action of PLCE1, an established SRNS protein.
Jia Rao, Shazia Ashraf, Weizhen Tan, Amelie T. van der Ven, Heon Yung Gee, Daniela A. Braun, Krisztina Fehér, Sudeep P. George, Amin Esmaeilniakooshkghazi, Won-Il Choi, Tilman Jobst-Schwan, Ronen Schneider, Johanna Magdalena Schmidt, Eugen Widmeier, Jillian K. Warejko, Tobias Hermle, David Schapiro, Svjetlana Lovric, Shirlee Shril, Ankana Daga, Ahmet Nayir, Mohan Shenoy, Yincent Tse, Martin Bald, Udo Helmchen, Sevgi Mir, Afig Berdeli, Jameela A. Kari, Sherif El Desoky, Neveen A. Soliman, Arvind Bagga, Shrikant Mane, Mohamad A. Jairajpuri, Richard P. Lifton, Seema Khurana, Jose C. Martins, Friedhelm Hildebrandt
Uromodulin-associated kidney disease (UAKD) is caused by mutations in the uromodulin (UMOD) gene that result in a misfolded form of UMOD protein, which is normally secreted by nephrons. In UAKD patients, mutant UMOD is poorly secreted and accumulates in the ER of distal kidney epithelium, but its role in disease progression is largely unknown. Here, we modeled UMOD accumulation in mice by expressing the murine equivalent of the human UMOD p.Cys148Trp point mutation (UmodC147W/+ mice). Like affected humans, these UmodC147W/+ mice developed spontaneous and progressive kidney disease with organ failure over 24 weeks. Analysis of diseased kidneys and purified UMOD-producing cells revealed early activation of the PKR-like ER kinase/activating transcription factor 4 (PERK/ATF4) ER stress pathway, innate immune mediators, and increased apoptotic signaling, including caspase-3 activation. Unexpectedly, we also detected autophagy deficiency. Human cells expressing UMOD p.Cys147Trp recapitulated the findings in UmodC147W/+ mice, and autophagy activation with mTOR inhibitors stimulated the intracellular removal of aggregated mutant UMOD. Human cells producing mutant UMOD were susceptible to TNF-α– and TRAIL-mediated apoptosis due to increased expression of the ER stress mediator tribbles-3. Blocking TNF-α in vivo with the soluble recombinant fusion protein TNFR:Fc slowed disease progression in UmodC147W/+ mice by reducing active caspase-3, thereby preventing tubule cell death and loss of epithelial function. These findings reveal a targetable mechanism for disease processes involved in UAKD.
Bryce G. Johnson, Lan T. Dang, Graham Marsh, Allie M. Roach, Zebulon G. Levine, Anthony Monti, Deepak Reyon, Lionel Feigenbaum, Jeremy S. Duffield
The kidney glomerular capillaries are frequent sites of immune complex deposition and subsequent neutrophil accumulation in post-infectious and rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. However, the mechanisms of neutrophil recruitment remain enigmatic, and there is no targeted therapeutic to avert this proximal event in glomerular inflammation. The uniquely human activating Fc receptor FcγRIIA promotes glomerular neutrophil accumulation and damage in anti–glomerular basement membrane–induced (anti-GBM–induced) glomerulonephritis when expressed on murine neutrophils. Here, we found that neutrophils are directly captured by immobilized IgG antibodies under physiological flow conditions in vitro through FcγRIIA-dependent, Abl/Src tyrosine kinase–mediated F-actin polymerization. Biophysical measurements showed that the lifetime of FcγRIIA-IgG bonds increased under mechanical force in an F-actin–dependent manner, which could enable the capture of neutrophils under physiological flow. Kidney intravital microscopy revealed that circulating neutrophils, which were similar in diameter to glomerular capillaries, abruptly arrested following anti-GBM antibody deposition via neutrophil FcγRIIA and Abl/Src kinases. Accordingly, inhibition of Abl/Src with bosutinib reduced FcγRIIA-mediated glomerular neutrophil accumulation and renal injury in experimental, crescentic anti-GBM nephritis. These data identify a pathway of neutrophil recruitment within glomerular capillaries following IgG deposition that may be targeted by bosutinib to avert glomerular injury.
Hiroshi Nishi, Kazuhiro Furuhashi, Xavier Cullere, Gurpanna Saggu, Mark J. Miller, Yunfeng Chen, Florencia Rosetti, Samantha L. Hamilton, Lihua Yang, Spencer P. Pittman, Jiexi Liao, Jan M. Herter, Jeffrey C. Berry, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Cheng Zhu, George C. Tsokos, Tanya N. Mayadas