Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 direct interaction with nephrin links VEGF-A signals to actin in kidney podocytes.
ABSTRACT The transmembrane protein nephrin is an essential component of slit diaphragms, the specialized cell junctions that link podocyte foot processes. Podocytes are epithelial cells that surround the glomerular capillaries in the kidney and are necessary for the organ-filtering function. Nephrin signaling complex transduces extracellular cues to the podocyte cytoskeleton and regulates podocyte shape and function. Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) is a required growth factor produced and secreted by podocytes. Accumulating evidence suggests a cross-talk between VEGF-A and nephrin signaling pathways. We previously showed that in vivo nephrin associates with VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR2), the signaling receptor for VEGF-A. In the present work, we characterized the interaction between nephrin and VEGFR2 in cultured cells and in vitro. We demonstrate that nephrin-VEGFR2 interaction is direct using mass spectrometry, immunoprecipitation, GST-binding assays, and blot overlay experiments. This interaction occurs through VEGFR2 and nephrin cytoplasmic domains. Nephrin-VEGFR2 interaction is modulated by tyrosine phosphorylation of both cytoplasmic domains. Furthermore, the nephrin-VEGFR2 complex involves Nck and actin. VEGF-A signaling via this complex results in decreased cell size. We provide evidence that this multiprotein interaction occurs in cultured podocytes. We propose that the nephrin-VEGFR2 complex acts as a key mediator to transduce local VEGF-A signals to the podocyte actin cytoskeleton, regulating the foot process structure and glomerular filter integrity.
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Article: Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 direct interaction with nephrin links VEGF-A signals to actin in kidney podocytes.
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ABSTRACT: Background/Aims: Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) upregulation and podocyte apoptosis have been documented in diabetes. This study was designed to investigate whether inhibiting VEGF-A could ameliorate podocyte apoptosis in diabetes and the underlying mechanisms. Methods: In vitro, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) of VEGF-A and activator protein 1 (AP-1, c-fos and c-jun), bevacizumab (VEGF-A inhibitor) and SP600125 (AP-1 inhibitor) were added to high glucose (30 mM) induced podocytes. Luciferase reporter assay was used to investigate whether AP-1 was a direct target of VEGF-A. In vivo, bevacizumab and SP600125 were administered to 12-week-old streptozotocin-induced male Sprague Dawley rats. The level of VEGF-A, c-fos, c-jun and bcl-2 were examined using immunostaining and Western blot analysis. Podocyte apoptosis was detected using the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated uridine 5'-triphosphate-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay, electron microscopy and flow cytometry. Results: Silencing VEGF-A or AP-1 upregulated bcl-2 and ameliorated podocyte apoptosis. Silencing VEGF-A decreased the level of c-fos and c-jun and bevacizumab and SP600125 treatment attenuated podocyte apoptosis. Luciferase reporter activity of VEGF-A-3'-UTR constructs was significantly provoked when stimulated with TGF-β1. In diabetic rat kidneys, VEGF-A co-localized with bcl-2 in podocytes. With bevacizumab and SP600125 treatment, the level of VEGF-A and AP-1 decreased while bcl-2 increased. Podocyte apoptotic rate was reduced with condensed podocyte nuclei less frequently observed. The urine albumin excretion rate (UAER) and albumin/creatinine were improved. Conclusion: This study demonstrates VEGF-A inhibition ameliorates podocyte apoptosis by regulating AP-1 and bcl-2 signaling. AP-1 is a direct target of VEGF-A and a novel player in podocyte apoptosis. © 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.American Journal of Nephrology 01/2015; 40(6):523-534. DOI:10.1159/000369942 · 2.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Anti-cancer therapeutic approaches targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) ligand (anti-VEGF) or inhibiting its receptors (RTKI) have recently been developed. In spite of the promising results achieved, a serious drawback and dose-limiting side effect is the development, among others, of renal complications. This encompasses two glomerular pathological entities, namely minimal change/focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and thrombotic micro-angiopathy, involving two distinct cell types, podocytes and endothelial cells, respectively. The mechanisms that link anti-cancer therapy by RTKI to podocyte dysfunction and nephrotic level proteinuria are still poorly understood. Nevertheless, recent findings strongly suggest a central role of RelA, the master subunit of NF-κB and c-mip, an active player in podocyte disorders. RelA, which is up-regulated following anti-VEGF therapy, is inactivated by RTKI, leading to c-mip over-expression in the podocyte. This results in severe alterations in the architecture of podocyte actin cytoskeleton and subsequent severe proteinuria. Hence, clarifying the mechanisms linking c-mip and RelA as key pathogenic factors represents a critical goal in the understanding of different glomerulopathies. In the context of VEGF-targeted anti-cancer therapy, the study of these mechanisms along with the molecular cross-talk between podocyte and endothelial cell constitutes the basis for the emerging field of onconephrology. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA. All rights reserved.Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 12/2014; DOI:10.1093/ndt/gfu368 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) remains a leading cause of new onset ESRD and yet, at present the treatment is still very limited. A better understanding of the pathogenesis of DKD is therefore necessary in order to develop more effective therapies. Increasing evidence suggest that glomerular endothelial cell (GEC) injury plays a major role in the development and progression of DKD. Alteration of glomerular endothelial cell surface layer including its major component glycocalyx is a leading cause of microalbuminuria observed in early DKD. Many studies suggest a presence of crosstalk between glomerular cells, such as between GEC and mesangial cells or GEC and podocytes. PDGF/PDGFRB is a major mediator for GEC and mesangial cell crosstalk, while vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), angiopoetins, and endothelin-1 are the major mediators for GEC and podocytes communication. In DKD, GEC injury may lead to podocyte damage, while podocyte loss further exacerbates GEC injury, forming a vicious cycle. Therefore, GEC injury may predispose to albuminuria in diabetes either directly or indirectly by communication with neighboring podocytes and mesangial cells via secreted mediators. Identification of novel mediators of glomerular cell crosstalk, such as miRNAs, will lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of DKD. Targeting these mediators may be a novel approach to develop more effective therapy for DKD. Copyright © 2014, American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology.American journal of physiology. Renal physiology 11/2014; 308(4):ajprenal.00533.2014. DOI:10.1152/ajprenal.00533.2014 · 3.30 Impact Factor