Increasing evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a critical role in the development of diabetic kidney disease (DKD), however, its specific pathomechanism remains unclear. A-kinase anchoring protein (AKAP) 1 is a scaffold protein in the AKAP family that is involved in mitochondrial fission and fusion. Here, we show that rats with streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes developed podocyte damage accompanied by AKAP1 overexpression and that AKAP1 closely interacted with the mitochondrial fission enzyme dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). At the molecular level, high glucose (HG) promoted podocyte injury and Drp1 phosphorylation at Ser637 as proven by decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, elevated reactive oxygen species generation, reduced adenosine triphosphate synthesis, and increased podocyte apoptosis. Furthermore, the AKAP1 knockdown protected HG-induced podocyte injury and suppressed HG-induced Drp1 phosphorylation at Ser637. AKAP1 overexpression aggravated HG-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and podocyte apoptosis. The coimmunoprecipitation assay showed that HG-induced Drp1 interacted with AKAP1, revealing that AKAP1 could recruit Drp1 from the cytoplasm under HG stimulation. Subsequently, we detected the effect of drp1 phosphorylation on Ser637 by transferring several different Drp1 mutants. We demonstrated that activated AKAP1 promoted Drp1 phosphorylation at Ser637, which promoted the transposition of Drp1 to the surface of the mitochondria and accounts for mitochondrial dysfunction events. These findings indicate that AKAP1 is the main pathogenic factor in the development and progression of HG-induced podocyte injury through the destruction of mitochondrial dynamic homeostasis by regulating Drp1 phosphorylation in human podocytes.
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