Inhibition of TMEM16A improves cisplatin-induced acute kidney injury via preventing DRP1-mediated mitochondrial fission

Xiao-long Li1,2, Xue-wu Liu1, Wei-ling Liu1, Yu-quan Lin1, Jing Liu3, Yu-sheng Peng1, Li-min Cheng1,4, Yan-hua Du1
1 Department of Pharmacology, Cardiac & Cerebral Vascular Research Center, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Organ Failure Research, National Clinical Research Center of Kidney Disease, Division of Nephrology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, China
3 Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510280, China
4 State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China
Correspondence to: Li-min Cheng:, Yan-hua Du:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-023-01122-6
Received: 30 November 2022
Accepted: 29 March 2023
Advance online: 4 July 2023


Acute kidney injury (AKI) is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Our previous study has demonstrated that TMEM16A, a Ca2+-activated chloride channel, contributes to renal fibrosis progression in chronic kidney disease. However, whether TMEM16A is involved in AKI is still unknown. In this study, we established cisplatin AKI mice model and found that TMEM16A expression was upregulated in the injured kidney. In vivo knockdown of TMEM16A effectively prevented cisplatin-induced tubular cell apoptosis, inflammation and kidney function loss. Western blot and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that TMEM16A knockdown inhibited Drp1 translocation from the cytoplasm to mitochondria and prevented mitochondrial fission in tubular cells. Consistently, in cultured HK2 cells, knockdown or inhibition of TMEM16A by shRNA or its specific inhibitor suppressed cisplatin- induced mitochondrial fission and its associated energy dysfunction, ROS accumulation, and cell apoptosis via inhibiting Drp1 activation. Further investigation showed that genetic knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of TMEM16A inhibited cisplatin- induced Drp1 Ser-616 site phosphorylation through ERK1/2 signaling pathway, whereas overexpression of TMEM16A promoted this effect. Treatment with Drp1 or ERK1/2 inhibitor could efficiently prevent cisplatin-induced mitochondrial fission. Collectively, our data suggest that TMEM16A inhibition alleviated cisplatin-induced AKI by preventing tubular cell mitochondrial fission through the ERK1/2 / Drp1 pathway. Inhibition of TMEM16A may be a novel therapeutic strategy for AKI.
Keywords: TMEM16A; AKI; mitochondrial fission; cell apoptosis; Drp1

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