MicroRNA-21 orchestrates high glucose-induced signals to TOR complex 1, resulting in renal cell pathology in diabetes

Nirmalya Dey, Falguni Das, Meenalakshmi M. Mariappan, Chandi Charan Mandal, Nandini Ghosh-Choudhury, Balakuntalam S. Kasinath, Goutam Ghosh Choudhury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Hyperglycemia induces a wide array of signaling pathways in the kidney that lead to hypertrophy and matrix expansion, eventually culminating in progressive kidney failure. High glucoseinduced reduction of the tumor suppressor protein phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted in chromosome 10 (PTEN) contributes to renal cell hypertrophy and matrix expansion. We identified microRNA-21 (miR-21) as the molecular link between high glucose and PTEN suppression. Renal cortices from OVE26 type 1 diabetic mice showed significantly elevated levels of miR-21 associated with reduced PTEN and increased fibronectin content. In renal mesangial cells, high glucose increased the expression of miR-21, which targeted the 3′-UTR of PTEN mRNA to inhibit PTEN protein expression. Overexpression of miR-21 mimicked the action of high glucose, which included a reduction in PTEN expression and a concomitant increase in Akt phosphorylation. In contrast, expression of miR-21 Sponge, to inhibit endogenous miR-21, prevented down-regulation of PTEN and phosphorylation of Akt induced by high glucose. Interestingly, high glucose-stimulated miR-21 inactivated PRAS40, a negative regulator of TORC1. Finally, miR-21 enhanced high glucose-induced TORC1 activity, resulting in renal cell hypertrophy and fibronectin expression. Thus, our results identify a previously unrecognized function of miR-21 that is the reciprocal regulation of PTEN levels and Akt/TORC1 activity that mediate critical pathologic features of diabetic kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25586-25603
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 22 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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