Albuminuria is a hallmark of glomerular disease of various etiologies. It is not only a symptom of glomerular disease but also a cause leading to glomerulosclerosis, interstitial fibrosis, and eventually, a decline in kidney function. The molecular mechanism underlying albuminuria-induced kidney injury remains poorly defined. In our genetic model of nephrotic syndrome (NS), we have identified CHOP (C/EBP homologous protein)TXNIP (thioredoxin-interacting protein) as critical molecular linkers between albuminuria-induced ER dysfunction and mitochondria dyshomeostasis. TXNIP is a ubiquitously expressed redox protein that binds to and inhibits antioxidant enzyme, cytosolic thioredoxin 1 (Trx1), and mitochondrial Trx2. However, very little is known about the regulation and function of TXNIP in NS. By utilizing Chop2/2 and Txnip2/2 mice as well as 68Ga-Galuminox, our molecular imaging probe for detection of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) in vivo, we demonstrate that CHOP up-regulation induced by albuminuria drives TXNIP shuttling from nucleus to mitochondria, where it is required for the induction of mitochondrial ROS. The increased ROS accumulation in mitochondria oxidizes Trx2, thus liberating TXNIP to associate with mitochondrial nod-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) to activate inflammasome, as well as releasing mitochondrial apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) to induce mitochondria-dependent apoptosis. Importantly, inhibition of TXNIP translocation and mitochondrial ROS overproduction by CHOP deletion suppresses NLRP3 inflammasome activation and p-ASK1–dependent mitochondria apoptosis in NS. Thus, targeting TXNIP represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of NS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2116505119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 30 2022


  • CHOP
  • ER stress
  • Trx2
  • mitochondria


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