Journal Article

TGF-beta1 reduces Wilms' tumor suppressor gene expression in podocytes

Toru Sakairi, Yoshifusa Abe and Jeffrey B. Kopp

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 26, issue 9, pages 2746-2752
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
TGF-beta1 reduces Wilms' tumor suppressor gene expression in podocytes

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Background. Wilms' tumor suppressor gene (WT1) is essential for normal podocyte function, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta contributes to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). We aimed to address whether TGF-beta affects WT1 expression in podocytes.

Methods. A human podocyte cell line treated with TGF-beta1 and kidneys in Alb/TGF-beta1-transgenic mice were analyzed for WT1 expression.

Results. In cultured podocytes, TGF-beta1 reduced WT1 protein expression determined by western blotting beginning at 8 h and decreased WT1 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression measured by quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction beginning at 3 h. Knockdown of Smad4 by small hairpin (sh) RNA partially rescued the TGF-beta1-induced reduction of both WT1 protein and mRNA expressions in the cultured podocytes. TGF-beta1 did not alter luciferase activity of the reporter construct for a human WT1 promoter but reduced that for a human WT1 5′ enhancer construct, suggesting that TGF-beta1 may regulate WT1 expression by altering the 5′ enhancer activity. In the transgenic mice, WT1 protein expression in podocytes was decreased at 1 and 3 weeks of age, while glomeruloclerosis developed after 3 weeks.

Conclusion. TGF-beta1 reduces WT1 expression in cultured human podocytes and podocytes in mice before overt glomerulosclerosis begins. The effects are at least partially Smad4 dependent. Our findings identify a novel pathway linking TGF-beta1 to podocyte injury and FSGS. The WT1 reduction may be a useful marker for early podocyte injury.

Keywords: FSGS; podocytes; TGF-beta1; Wilms' tumor suppressor gene

Journal Article.  5003 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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