The Calcium-Dependent Protease Calpain-1 Links TRPC6 Activity to Podocyte Injury
SourceJournal of the American Society of Nephrology, 29, 8, (2018), pp. 2099-2109
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
SubjectRadboudumc 11: Renal disorders RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 11: Renal disorders RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
BACKGROUND: The hallmark of podocytopathies, such as FSGS, is podocyte injury resulting in proteinuria. Transient receptor potential channel C6 (TRPC6) is a calcium-conducting ion channel expressed at the slit diaphragm. TRPC6 gain-of-function mutations and glomerular TRPC6 overexpression are associated with proteinuria. However, the pathways linking TRPC6 to podocyte injury, which is characterized by loss of the slit diaphragm protein nephrin, activation of several intracellular pathways (including calcineurin-NFAT signaling), and cytoskeletal rearrangement, remain elusive. METHODS: We tested whether the calcium-dependent protease calpain-1 mediates TRPC6-dependent podocyte injury in human and experimental FSGS and cultured podocytes. RESULTS: Compared with kidneys of healthy controls, kidneys of patients with FSGS had increased TRPC6 expression, increased calpain and calcineurin activity, and reduced expression of the calpain target Talin-1, which links the actin cytoskeleton to integrins and is critical for podocyte cytoskeletal stability. In a rat model of human FSGS, increased glomerular and urinary calpain activity associated with reduced Talin-1 abundance, enhanced calcineurin activity, and increased proteinuria. Treatment with the calpain inhibitor calpeptin prevented these effects. In cultured podocytes, pharmacologic stimulation of TRPC6-dependent calcium influx increased calpain-1 and calcineurin activity and reduced Talin-1 expression, and knockdown of TRPC6 or calpain-1 prevented these effects. CONCLUSIONS: We elucidated a novel mechanism that links TRPC6 activity to calpain-1 activation and through Talin-1 loss and possibly, calcineurin activation, the podocyte injury characterizing FSGS. Therefore, calpain-1 and/or TRPC6 inhibition could be future therapeutic options to treat patients with FSGS or other podocytopathies.
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