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Recent studies have implicated mitochondrial disruption in podocyte dysfunction, which is a characteristic feature of primary and diabetic glomerular diseases. However, the mechanisms by which primary mitochondrial dysfunction in podocytes affects glomerular renal diseases are currently unknown. To investigate the role of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) in podocyte dysfunction, glomerular function was examined in mice carrying a loss of function mutation of the gene encoding CR6-interacting factor-1 (CRIF1), which is essential for intramitochondrial production and the subsequent insertion of OxPhos polypeptides into the inner mitochondrial membrane. Homozygotic deficiency of CRIF1 in podocytes resulted in profound and progressive albuminuria from 3 weeks of age; the CRIF1-deficient mice also developed glomerular and tubulointerstitial lesions by 10 weeks of age. Furthermore, marked glomerular sclerosis and interstitial fibrosis were observed in homozygous CRIF1-deficient mice at 20 weeks of age. In cultured mouse podocytes, loss of CRIF1 resulted in OxPhos dysfunction and marked loss or abnormal aggregation of F-actin. These findings indicate that the OxPhos status determines the integrity of podocytes and their ability to maintain a tight barrier and control albuminuria. Analyses of the glomerular function of the podocyte-specific primary OxPhos dysfunction model mice demonstrate a link between podocyte mitochondrial dysfunction, progressive glomerular sclerosis, and tubulointerstitial diseases.


Ki Ryang Na, Jin Young Jeong, Jin Ah Shin, Yoon-Kyung Chang, Kwang-Sun Suh, Kang Wook Lee, Dae Eun Choi. Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Podocytes Caused by CRIF1 Deficiency Leads to Progressive Albuminuria and Glomerular Sclerosis in Mice. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 May 02;22(9)

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PMID: 34063207

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