Stress granules are formed in renal proximal tubular cells during metabolic stress and ischemic injury for cell survival

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8 Scopus citations


Stress granules (SGs) are a type of cytoplasmic structures formed in eukaryotic cells upon cell stress, which mainly contain RNA-binding proteins and RNAs. The formation of SGs is generally regarded as a mechanism for cells to survive a harsh insult. However, little is known about SG formation and function in kidneys. To address this, we applied different kinds of stressors to cultured proximal tubular cells as well as a short period of ischemia-reperfusion to mouse kidneys. It was found that glycolytic inhibitors such as 2-deoxy-D-glucose and 3-(3-pyridinyl)-1-(4-pyridinyl)-2-propen-1-one induced SG formation within 30 min in these cells. Similarly, SGs were induced by inhibitors of mitochondrial respiration such as sodium azide and CCCP. Renal ischemia-reperfusion induced SG formation in the cells of proximal tubules. To test the role of SGs, we stably knocked down G3bp1, a SG core protein, in renal tubular cells by shRNA viral transduction. As expected, knockdown of G3bp1 largely disrupted the assembly of SGs. After azide or cisplatin treatment, more dead cells were found in knockdown cells compared with controls, accompanied by increases in cleaved/active caspase-3. Reintroduction of exogenous G3bp1 into knockdown cells could rescue the cell death phenotype. Taken together, our data provide the first evidence of SG formation in renal tubular cells during metabolic stress and acute kidney injury. SGs are formed to protect proximal tubular cells under these conditions. Modulation of SG biogenesis may provide a novel approach to lessen the severity of renal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F116-F123
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cell death
  • Endoplasmic reticulum stress
  • Renal ischemia
  • Stress granule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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