FHL2 interacts with iASPP and impacts the biological functions of leukemia cells
Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is a microvascular complication that leads to kidney dysfunction and ESRD, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Podocyte Wnt-pathway activation has been demonstrated to be a trigger mechanism for various proteinuric diseases. Notably, four-and-a-half LIM domains protein 2 (FHL2) is highly expressed in urogenital systems and has been implicated in Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Here, we used in vitro podocyte culture experiments and a streptozotocin-induced DKD model in FHL2 gene-knockout mice to determine the possible role of FHL2 in DKD and to clarify its association with the Wnt pathway. In human and mouse kidney tissues, FHL2 protein was abundantly expressed in podocytes but not in renal tubular cells. Treatment with high glucose or diabetes-related cytokines, including angiotensin II and TGF-β1, activated FHL2 protein and Wnt/β-catenin signaling in cultured podocytes. This activation also upregulated FHL2 expression and promoted FHL2 translocation from cytosol to nucleus. Genetic deletion of the FHL2 gene mitigated the podocyte dedifferentiation caused by activated Wnt/β-catenin signaling under Wnt-On, but not under Wnt-Off, conditions. Diabetic FHL2(+/+) mice developed markedly increased albuminuria and thickening of the glomerular basement membrane compared with nondiabetic FHL2(+/+) mice. However, FHL2 knockout significantly attenuated these DKD-induced changes. Furthermore, kidney samples from patients with diabetes had a higher degree of FHL2 podocyte nuclear translocation, which was positively associated with albuminuria and progressive renal function deterioration. Therefore, we conclude that FHL2 has both structural and functional protein-protein interactions with β-catenin in the podocyte nucleus and that FHL2 protein inhibition can mitigate Wnt/β-catenin-induced podocytopathy.