Excessive mitochondrial fission has been identified as the central pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), but the precise mechanisms remain unclear. Disulfide-bond A oxidoreductase-like protein (DsbA-L) is highly expressed in mitochondria in tubular cells of the kidney, but its pathophysiological role in DKD is unknown. Our bioinformatics analysis showed that tubular DsbA-L mRNA levels were positively associated with eGFR but negatively associated with Scr and 24h-proteinuria in CKD patients. Furthermore, the genes that were coexpressed with DsbA-L were mainly enriched in mitochondria and were involved in oxidative phosphorylation. In vivo, knockout of DsbA-L exacerbated diabetic mice tubular cell mitochondrial fragmentation, oxidative stress and renal damage. In vitro, we found that DsbA-L was localized in the mitochondria of HK-2 cells. High glucose (HG, 30 mM) treatment decreased DsbA-L expression followed by increased mitochondrial ROS (mtROS) generation and mitochondrial fragmentation. In addition, DsbA-L knockdown exacerbated these abnormalities, but this effect was reversed by overexpression of DsbA-L. Mechanistically, under HG conditions, knockdown DsbA-L expression accentuated JNK phosphorylation in HK-2 cells. Furthermore, administration of a JNK inhibitor (SP600125) or the mtROS scavenger MitoQ significantly attenuated JNK activation and subsequent mitochondrial fragmentation in DsbA-L-knockdown HK-2 cells. Additionally, the down-regulation of DsbA-L also amplified the gene and protein expression of mitochondrial fission factor (MFF) via the JNK pathway, enhancing its ability to recruit DRP1 to mitochondria. Taken together, these results link DsbA-L to alterations in mitochondrial dynamics during tubular injury in the pathogenesis of DKD and unveil a novel mechanism by which DsbA-L modifies mtROS/JNK/MFF-related mitochondrial fission.

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