Podocyte migration during nephrotic syndrome requires a coordinated interplay between cathepsin L and α3 integrin

Jochen Reiser, Jun Oh, Isao Shirato, Katsuhiko Asanuma, Andreas Hug, Thomas M. Mundel, Karen Honey, Kazumi Ishidoh, Eiki Kominami, Jordan A. Kreidberg, Yasuhiko Tomino, Peter Mundel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Podocyte foot process effacement and disruption of the slit diaphragm are typically associated with glomerular proteinuria and can be induced in rats by the injection of puromycin aminonucleoside. Here, we show that the induction of puromycin aminonucleoside nephrosis involves podocyte migration conducted by a coordinated interplay between the cysteine protease cathepsin L and α3 integrin. Puromycin aminonucleoside treatment up-regulates cathepsin L expression in podocytes in vivo as well as expression and enzymatic activity of cathepsin L in podocytes in vitro. Isolated podocytes from mice lacking cathepsin L are protected from cell puromycin aminonucleoside-induced cell detachment. The functional significance of cathepsin L expression was underscored by the observation that puromycin aminonucleoside-indueed cell migration was slowed down in cathepsin L-deficient podocytes and by the preservation of cell-cell contacts and expression of vital slit diaphragm protein CD2AP. Cathepsin L expression and activity were induced in podocytes lacking α3 integrin. Similarly, acute functional inhibition of α3 integrin in wild type podocytes with a blocking antibody increased the expression of cathepsin L activity. Downregulation of α3 integrin protected against puromycin aminonucleoside-induced podocyte detachment. In summary, these data establish that podocyte foot process effacement is a migratory event involving a novel interplay between cathepsin L and α3 integrin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34827-34832
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 13 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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