Research ArticleSystems Biology

Interconnected Network Motifs Control Podocyte Morphology and Kidney Function

Sci. Signal.  04 Feb 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 311, pp. ra12
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004621

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text
As a service to the community, AAAS/Science has made this article free with registration.

Abstract

Podocytes are kidney cells with specialized morphology that is required for glomerular filtration. Diseases, such as diabetes, or drug exposure that causes disruption of the podocyte foot process morphology results in kidney pathophysiology. Proteomic analysis of glomeruli isolated from rats with puromycin-induced kidney disease and control rats indicated that protein kinase A (PKA), which is activated by adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate (cAMP), is a key regulator of podocyte morphology and function. In podocytes, cAMP signaling activates cAMP response element–binding protein (CREB) to enhance expression of the gene encoding a differentiation marker, synaptopodin, a protein that associates with actin and promotes its bundling. We constructed and experimentally verified a β-adrenergic receptor–driven network with multiple feedback and feedforward motifs that controls CREB activity. To determine how the motifs interacted to regulate gene expression, we mapped multicompartment dynamical models, including information about protein subcellular localization, onto the network topology using Petri net formalisms. These computational analyses indicated that the juxtaposition of multiple feedback and feedforward motifs enabled the prolonged CREB activation necessary for synaptopodin expression and actin bundling. Drug-induced modulation of these motifs in diseased rats led to recovery of normal morphology and physiological function in vivo. Thus, analysis of regulatory motifs using network dynamics can provide insights into pathophysiology that enable predictions for drug intervention strategies to treat kidney disease.

View Full Text