PloS one

TWEAK activates the non-canonical NFkappaB pathway in murine renal tubular cells: modulation of CCL21.

PMID 20126461


TWEAK is a member of the TNF superfamily of cytokines that contribute to kidney tubulointerstitial injury. It has previously been reported that TWEAK induces transient nuclear translocation of RelA and expression of RelA-dependent cytokines in renal tubular cells. Additionally, TWEAK induced long-lasting NFkappaB activation suggestive of engagement of the non-canonical NFkappaB pathway. We now explore TWEAK-induced activation of NFkappaB2 and RelB, as well as expression of CCL21, a T-cell chemotactic factor, in cultured murine tubular epithelial cells and in healthy kidneys in vivo. In cultured tubular cells, TWEAK and TNFalpha activated different DNA-binding NFkappaB complexes. TWEAK-induced sustained NFkappaB activation was associated with NFkappaB2 p100 processing to p52 via proteasome and nuclear translocation and DNA-binding of p52 and RelB. TWEAK, but not TNFalpha used as control), induced a delayed increase in CCL21a mRNA (3.5+/-1.22-fold over control) and CCL21 protein (2.5+/-0.8-fold over control), which was prevented by inhibition of the proteasome, or siRNA targeting of NIK or RelB, but not by RelA inhibition with parthenolide. A second NFkappaB2-dependent chemokine, CCL19, was upregulates by TWEAK, but not by TNFalpha. However, both cytokines promoted chemokine RANTES expression (3-fold mRNA at 24 h). In vivo, TWEAK induced nuclear NFkappaB2 and RelB translocation and CCL21a mRNA (1.5+/-0.3-fold over control) and CCL21 protein (1.6+/-0.5-fold over control) expression in normal kidney. Increased tubular nuclear RelB and tubular CCL21 expression in acute kidney injury were decreased by neutralization (2+/-0.9 vs 1.3+/-0.6-fold over healthy control) or deficiency of TWEAK (2+/-0.9 vs 0.8+/-0.6-fold over healthy control). Moreover, anti-TWEAK treatment prevented the recruitment of T cells to the kidney in this model (4.1+/-1.4 vs 1.8+/-1-fold over healthy control). Our results thus identify TWEAK as a regulator of non-canonical NFkappaB activation and CCL21 expression in tubular cells thus promoting lymphocyte recruitment to the kidney during acute injury.