Enhanced Orai1-mediated store-operated Ca2+ channel/calpain signaling contributes to high glucose-induced podocyte injury

Yu Tao, Sarika Chaudhari, Parisa Yazdizadeh Shotorbani, Yanfeng Ding, Zhenglan Chen, Ramesh Kasetti, Gulab Zode, Rong Ma

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8 Scopus citations


Podocyte injury induced by hyperglycemia is the main cause of kidney dysfunction in diabetic nephropathy. However, the underlying mechanism is unclear. Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) regulates a diversity of cellular processes in a variety of cell types. Calpain, a Ca2+-dependent cysteine protease, was recently shown to be involved in podocyte injury. In the present study, we sought to determine whether increased SOCE contributed to high glucose (HG)-induced podocyte injury through activation of the calpain pathway. In cultured human podocytes, whole-cell patch clamp indicated the presence of functional store-operated Ca2+ channels, which are composed of Orai1 proteins and mediate SOCE. Western blots showed that HG treatment increased the protein abundance of Orai1 in a dose-dependent manner. Consistently, calcium imaging experiments revealed that SOCE was significantly enhanced in podocytes following HG treatment. Furthermore, HG treatment caused overt podocyte F-actin disorganization as well as a significant decrease in nephrin protein abundance, both of which are indications of podocyte injury. These podocyte injury responses were significantly blunted by both pharmacological inhibition of Orai1 using the small molecule inhibitor BTP2 or by genetic deletion of Orai1 using CRISPR-Cas9 lentivirus. Moreover, activation of SOCE by thapsigargin, an inhibitor of Ca2+ pump on the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane, significantly increased the activity of calpain, which was inhibited by BTP2. Finally, the calpain-1/ calpain-2 inhibitor calpeptin significantly blunted the nephrin protein reduction induced by HG treatment. Taken together, our results suggest that enhanced signaling via an Orai1/ SOCE/Calpain axis contributes to HG-induced podocyte injury.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101990
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


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