PDGF receptor-β uses Akt/mTORC1 signaling node to promote high glucose-induced renal proximal tubular cell collagen I (α2) expression

Falguni Das, Nandini Ghosh-Choudhury, Balachandar Venkatesan, Balakuntalam S. Kasinath, Goutam Ghosh Choudhury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Increased expression of PDGF receptor-β (PDGFRβ) has been shown in renal proximal tubules in mice with diabetes. The core molecular network used by high glucose to induce proximal tubular epithelial cell collagen I (α2) expression is poorly understood. We hypothesized that activation of PDGFRβ by high glucose increases collagen I (α2) production via the Akt/mTORC1 signaling pathway in proximal tubular epithelial cells. Using biochemical and molecular biological techniques, we investigated this hypothesis. We show that high glucose increases activating phosphorylation of the PDGFRβ, resulting in phosphorylation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. A specific inhibitor, JNJ-10198409, and small interfering RNAs targeting PDGFRβ blocked this phosphorylation without having any effect on MEK/Erk1/2 activation. We also found that PDGFRβ regulates high glucose-induced Akt activation, its targets tuberin and PRAS40 phosphorylation, and finally, mTORC1 activation. Furthermore, inhibition of PDGFRβ suppressed high glucose-induced expression of collagen I(α2) in proximal tubular cells. Importantly, expression of constitutively active Akt or mTORC1 reversed these processes. As a mechanism, we found that JNJ and PDGFRβ knockdown inhibited high glucose-stimulated Hif1α expression. Furthermore, overexpression of Hif1α restored expression of collagen I (α2) that was inhibited by PDGFRβ knockdown in high glucose-stimulated cells. Finally, we show increased phosphorylation of PDGFRβ and its association with Akt/mTORC1 activation, Hif1α expression, and elevated collagen I (α2) levels in the renal cortex of mice with diabetes. Our results identify PDGFRβ as a driver in activating Akt/mTORC1 nexus for high glucose-mediated expression of collagen I (α2) in proximal tubular epithelial cells, which contributes to tubulointerstitial fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F291-F307
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Diabetic nephropathy
  • Fibrosis
  • Tyrosine kinase receptor
  • mTOR complex (mTORC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'PDGF receptor-β uses Akt/mTORC1 signaling node to promote high glucose-induced renal proximal tubular cell collagen I (α2) expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this