Biochimica et biophysica acta

Quantitative mass spectrometry of diabetic kidney tubules identifies GRAP as a novel regulator of TGF-beta signaling.

PMID 19836472


The aim of this study was to define novel mediators of tubule injury in diabetic kidney disease. For this, we used state-of-the-art proteomic methods combined with a label-free quantitative strategy to define protein expression differences in kidney tubules from transgenic OVE26 type 1 diabetic and control mice. The analysis was performed with diabetic samples that displayed a pro-fibrotic phenotype. We have identified 476 differentially expressed proteins. Bioinformatic analysis indicated several clusters of regulated proteins in relevant functional groups such as TGF-beta signaling, tight junction maintenance, oxidative stress, and glucose metabolism. Mass spectrometry detected expression changes of four physiologically relevant proteins were confirmed by immunoblot analysis. Of these, the Grb2-related adaptor protein (GRAP) was up-regulated in kidney tubules from diabetic mice and fibrotic kidneys from diabetic patients, and subsequently confirmed as a novel component of TGF-beta signaling in cultured human renal tubule cells. Thus, indicating a potential novel role for GRAP in TGF-beta-induced tubule injury in diabetic kidney disease. Although we targeted a specific disease, this approach offers a robust, high-sensitivity methodology that can be applied to the discovery of novel mediators for any experimental or disease condition.