Misfolded protein aggregates may cause toxic proteinopathy, including autosomal dominant tubulointerstitial kidney disease due to uromodulin mutations (ADTKD-UMOD), a leading hereditary kidney disease. There are no targeted therapies. In our generated mouse model recapitulating human ADTKD-UMOD carrying a leading UMOD mutation, we show that autophagy/mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis are impaired, leading to cGAS-STING activation and tubular injury. Moreover, we demonstrate that inducible tubular overexpression of mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF), a secreted endoplasmic reticulum protein, after the onset of disease stimulates autophagy/mitophagy, clears mutant UMOD, and promotes mitochondrial biogenesis through p-AMPK enhancement, thus protecting kidney function in our ADTKD mouse model. Conversely, genetic ablation of MANF in the mutant thick ascending limb tubular cells worsens autophagy suppression and kidney fibrosis. Together, we have discovered MANF as a biotherapeutic protein and elucidated previously unknown mechanisms of MANF in the regulation of organelle homeostasis, which may have broad therapeutic applications to treat various proteinopathies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6493
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


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