Podocyte-Specific Deletion of Yes-Associated Protein Causes FSGS and Progressive Renal Failure

Monica Schwartzman, Antoine Reginensi, Jenny S. Wong, John M. Basgen, Kristin Meliambro, Susanne B. Nicholas, Vivette Dagati, Helen McNeill, Kirk N. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


FSGS is the most common primary glomerular disease underlying ESRD in the United States and is increasing in incidence globally. FSGS results from podocyte injury, yet the mechanistic details of disease pathogenesis remain unclear. This has resulted in an unmet clinical need for cell-specific therapy in the treatment of FSGS and other proteinuric kidney diseases.We previously identified Yes-associated protein (YAP) as a prosurvival signaling molecule, the in vitro silencing of which increases podocyte susceptibility to apoptotic stimulus. YAP is a potent oncogene that is a prominent target for chemotherapeutic drug development. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that podocyte-specific deletion of Yap leads to proteinuric kidney disease through increased podocyte apoptosis. Yap was selectively silenced in podocytes using Cre-mediated recombination controlled by the podocin promoter. Yap silencing in podocytes resulted in podocyte apoptosis, podocyte depletion, proteinuria, and an increase in serum creatinine. Histologically, features characteristic of FSGS, including mesangial sclerosis, podocyte foot process effacement, tubular atrophy, interstitial fibrosis, and casts, were observed. In human primary FSGS, we noted reduced glomerular expression of YAP. Taken together, these results suggest a role for YAP as a physiologic antagonist of podocyte apoptosis, the signaling of which is essential for maintaining the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier. These data suggest potential nephrotoxicity with strategies directed toward inhibition of YAP function. Further studies should evaluate the role of YAP in proteinuric glomerular disease pathogenesis and its potential utility as a therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-226
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016


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