Adriamycin-Induced Podocyte Injury Disrupts the YAP-TEAD1 Axis and Downregulates Cyr61 and CTGF Expression.
The most severe forms of kidney diseases are often associated with irreversible damage to the glomerular podocytes, the highly specialized epithelial cells that encase glomerular capillaries and regulate the removal of toxins and waste from the blood. Several studies revealed significant changes to podocyte cytoskeletal structure during disease onset, suggesting possible roles of cellular mechanosensing in podocyte responses to injury. Still, this topic remains underexplored partly due to the lack of appropriate in vitro models that closely recapitulate human podocyte biology. Here, we leveraged our previously established method for the derivation of mature podocytes from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) to help uncover the roles of yes-associated protein (YAP), a transcriptional coactivator and mechanosensor, in podocyte injury response. We found that while the total expression levels of YAP remain relatively unchanged during Adriamycin (ADR)-induced podocyte injury, the YAP target genes connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) and cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (Cyr61) are significantly downregulated. Intriguingly, TEAD1 is significantly downregulated in podocytes injured with ADR. By examining multiple independent modes of cellular injury, we found that CTGF and Cyr61 expression are downregulated only when podocytes were exposed to molecules known to disrupt the cell's mechanical integrity or cytoskeletal structure. To our knowledge, this is the first report that the YAP-TEAD1 signaling axis is disrupted when stem cell-derived human podocytes experience biomechanical injury. Together, these results could help improve the understanding of kidney disease mechanisms and highlight CTGF and Cyr61 as potential therapeutic targets or biomarkers for patient stratification.
Burt, MA; Kalejaiye, TD; Bhattacharya, R; Dimitrakakis, N; Musah, S
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