ERK pathway mediates P2X7 expression and cell death in renal interstitial fibroblasts exposed to necrotic renal epithelial cells Article (Web of Science)


  • We recently reported that necrotic renal proximal epithelial cells (RPTC) stimulate the expression of P2X7 receptor in renal fibroblasts and that P2X7 receptor mediates deleterious epithelial-fibroblast cross talk. The present study was carried out to investigate the signaling mechanism of necrotic RPTC-induced P2X7 expression in cultured renal interstitial fibroblasts (NRK-49F). Exposure of NRK-49F to necrotic RPTC supernatant (RPTC-Sup) induced a time- and dose-dependent phosphorylation of several signaling pathways including extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2), p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs), and AKT in NRK-49F. Pharmacological inhibition of ERK1/2, but not p38, JNK, and AKT pathways, blocked RPTC-Sup-induced P2X7 expression and renal interstitial fibroblast death. Knockdown of ERK1/2 or MEK1, a direct upstream activator of ERK1/2, also reduced RPTC-Sup-induced P2X7 expression and cell death of renal fibroblasts. Conversely, overexpression of MEK1 enhanced these responses. Upon necrotic RPTC exposure, phosphorylation of Elk1, a transcriptional factor targeted by ERK1/2, was increased in NRK-49F, and knockdown of Elk1 by siRNA remarkably reduced RPTC-Sup-induced P2X7 expression as well as renal fibroblast death. Furthermore, silencing of MEK1 inhibited Elk1 phosphorylation in response to necrotic RPTC, whereas overexpression of MEK1 increased Elk1 phosphorylation. Taken together, these data reveal that necrotic RPTC induces P2X7 expression in renal fibroblasts through activation of the MEK1-ERK1/2-Elk1 signaling pathway.


  • Ponnusamy, Murugavel
  • Liu, Na
  • Gong, Rujun
  • Yan, Haidong
  • Zhuang, Shougang

publication date

  • 2011

start page

  • F650

end page

  • F659


  • 301


  • 3