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    Roundabout guidance receptor 2 (ROBO2) plays an important role during early kidney development. ROBO2 is expressed in podocytes, inhibits nephrin-induced actin polymerization, down-regulates nonmuscle myosin IIA activity, and destabilizes kidney podocyte adhesion. However, the role of ROBO2 during kidney injury, particularly in mature podocytes, is not known. Herein, we report that loss of ROBO2 in podocytes [Robo2 conditional knockout (cKO) mouse] is protective from glomerular injuries. Ultrastructural analysis reveals that Robo2 cKO mice display less foot process effacement and better-preserved slit-diaphragm density compared with wild-type littermates injured by either protamine sulfate or nephrotoxic serum (NTS). The Robo2 cKO mice also develop less proteinuria after NTS injury. Further studies reveal that ROBO2 expression in podocytes is up-regulated after glomerular injury because its expression levels are higher in the glomeruli of NTS injured mice and passive Heymann membranous nephropathy rats. Moreover, the amount of ROBO2 in the glomeruli is also elevated in patients with membranous nephropathy. Finally, overexpression of ROBO2 in cultured mouse podocytes compromises cell adhesion. Taken together, these findings suggest that kidney injury increases glomerular ROBO2 expression that might compromise podocyte adhesion and, thus, loss of Robo2 in podocytes could protect from glomerular injury by enhancing podocyte adhesion that helps maintain foot process structure. Our findings also suggest that ROBO2 is a therapeutic target for podocyte injury and podocytopathy. Copyright © 2020 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Anna Pisarek-Horowitz, Xueping Fan, Sudhir Kumar, Hila M Rasouly, Richa Sharma, Hui Chen, Kathryn Coser, Crystal T Bluette, Dinesh Hirenallur-Shanthappa, Sarah R Anderson, Hongying Yang, Laurence H Beck, Ramon G Bonegio, Joel M Henderson, Stephen P Berasi, David J Salant, Weining Lu. Loss of Roundabout Guidance Receptor 2 (Robo2) in Podocytes Protects Adult Mice from Glomerular Injury by Maintaining Podocyte Foot Process Structure. The American journal of pathology. 2020 Apr;190(4):799-816

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    PMID: 32220420

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