A novel inhibitor of homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2 mitigates kidney fibrosis through inhibition of the TGF-b1/Smad3 pathway

Ruijie Liu, Bhaskar Das, Wenzhen Xiao, Zhengzhe Li, Huilin Li, Kyung Lee, John Cijiang He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is a critical regulator of multiple profibrotic pathways, including that of TGF-b1/Smad3. Genetic ablation of HIPK2 was shown previously to significantly reduce renal fibrosis in the experimental unilateral ureteral obstruction model and Tg26 mice, a model of HIVassociated nephropathy. To develop specific pharmacologic inhibitors of HIPK2 for antifibrotic therapy, we designed and synthesized small molecule inhibitor compounds on the basis of the predicted structure of HIPK2. Among these compounds, we identified one, BT173, that strongly inhibited the ability of HIPK2 to potentiate the downstreamtranscriptional activity of Smad3 in kidney tubular cells. Notably, binding of BT173 to HIPK2 did not inhibit HIPK2 kinase activity but rather, interfered allosterically with the ability of HIPK2 to associate with Smad3. In vitro, treatment with BT173 inhibited TGF-b1-induced Smad3 phosphorylation and Smad3 target gene expression in human renal tubular epithelial cells. In vivo, administration of BT173 decreased Smad3 phosphorylation and mitigated renal fibrosis and deposition of extracellular matrix in unilateral ureteral obstruction and Tg26 mouse models of renal fibrosis. Our data indicate that BT173 is a novel HIPK2 inhibitor that attenuates renal fibrosis through suppression of the TGF-b1/Smad3 pathway and may be developed as an antifibrotic therapy in patients with kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2133-2143
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN
Volume28
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017

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