HIPK2 C-terminal domain inhibits NF-κB signaling and renal inflammation in kidney injury

Ye Feng, Zhengzhe Li, Heather Wang, Bi Cheng Liu, Kyung Lee, John Cijiang He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HIPK2 is a multifunctional kinase that acts as a key pathogenic mediator of chronic kidney disease and fibrosis. It acts as a central effector of multiple signaling pathways implicated in kidney injury, such as TGF-β/Smad3-mediated extracellular matrix accumulation, NF-κB-mediated inflammation, and p53-mediated apoptosis. Thus, a better understanding of the specific HIPK2 regions necessary for distinct downstream pathway activation is critical for optimal drug development for CKD. Our study now shows that caspase-6-mediated removal of the C-terminal region of HIPK2 (HIPK2-CT) lead to hyperactive p65 NF-κB transcriptional response in kidney cells. In contrast, the expression of cleaved HIPK2-CT fragment could restrain the NF-κB transcriptional activity by cytoplasmic sequestration of p65 and the attenuation of IκBα degradation. Therefore, we examined whether HIPK2-CT expression can be exploited to restrain renal inflammation in vivo. The induction of HIPK2-CT overexpression in kidney tubular cells attenuated p65 nuclear translocation, expression of inflammatory cytokines, and macrophage infiltration in the kidneys of mice with unilateral ureteral obstruction and LPS-induced acute kidney injury. Collectively, our findings indicate that the HIPK2-CT is involved in the regulation of nuclear NF-κB transcriptional activity and that HIPK2-CT or its analogs could be further exploited as potential antiinflammatory agents to treat kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere175153
JournalJCI insight
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2024


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