Oncoprotein DJ-1 interacts with mTOR complexes to effect transcription factor Hif1α-dependent expression of collagen I (α2) during renal fibrosis

Falguni Das, Nandini Ghosh-choudhury, Soumya Maity, Balakuntalam S Kasinath, Goutam Ghosh Choudhury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Proximal tubular epithelial cells respond to transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) to synthesize collagen I (α2) during renal fibrosis. The oncoprotein DJ-1 has previously been shown to promote tumorigenesis and prevent apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons; however, its role in fibrosis signaling is unclear. Here, we show TGFβ-stimulation increased expression of DJ-1, which promoted noncanonical mTORC1 and mTORC2 activities. We show DJ-1 augmented the phosphorylation/activation of PKCβII, a direct substrate of mTORC2. In addition, coimmunoprecipitation experiments revealed association of DJ-1 with Raptor and Rictor, exclusive subunits of mTORC1 and mTORC2, respectively, as well as with mTOR kinase. Interestingly, siRNAs against DJ-1 blocked TGFβ-stimulated expression of collagen I (α2), while expression of DJ-1 increased expression of this protein. In addition, expression of dominant negative PKCβII and siRNAs against PKCβII significantly inhibited TGFβ-induced collagen I (α2) expression. In fact, constitutively active PKCβII abrogated the effect of siRNAs against DJ-1, suggesting a role of PKCβII downstream of this oncoprotein. Moreover, we demonstrate expression of collagen I (α2) stimulated by DJ-1 and its target PKCβII is dependent on the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (Hif1α). Finally, we show in the renal cortex of diabetic rats that increased TGFβ was associated with enhanced expression of DJ-1 and activation of mTOR and PKCβII, concomitant with increased Hif1α and collagen I (α2). Overall, we identified that DJ-1 affects TGFβ-induced expression of collagen I (α2) via an mTOR-, PKCβII-, and Hif1α-dependent mechanism to regulate renal fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102246
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Extracellular matrix protein
  • Fibrosis
  • PKC
  • TGFβ
  • mTORC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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