APOL1-mediated cell injury involves disruption of conserved trafficking processes

Etty Kruzel-Davila, Revital Shemer, Ayala Ofir, Ira Bavli-Kertselli, Ilona Darlyuk-Saadon, Pazit Oren-Giladi, Walter G. Wasser, Daniella Magen, Eid Zaknoun, Maya Schuldiner, Adi Salzberg, Daniel Kornitzer, Zvonimir Marelja, Matias Simons, Karl Skorecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


APOL1 harbors C-terminal sequence variants (G1 andG2),which account formuch of the increased risk for kidney disease in sub-Saharan African ancestry populations. Expression of the risk variants has also been shown to cause injury to podocytes and other cell types, but the underlying mechanisms are not understood. We usedDrosophilamelanogaster and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to help clarify thesemechanisms. Ubiquitous expression of the human APOL1 G1 and G2 disease risk alleles caused near-complete lethality in D. melanogaster, with no effect of theG0 nonrisk APOL1 allele, corresponding to the pattern of human disease risk. We also observed a congruent pattern of cellular damage with tissue-specific expression of APOL1. In particular, expression of APOL1 risk variants in D. melanogaster nephrocytes caused cellautonomous accumulation of the endocytic tracer atrial natriuretic factor-red fluorescent protein at early stages and nephrocyte loss at later stages.We also observed differential toxicity of the APOL1 risk variants compared with the APOL1 nonrisk variants in S. cerevisiae, including impairment of vacuole acidification. Yeast strains defective in endosomal trafficking or organelle acidification but not those defective in autophagy displayed augmented APOL1 toxicity with all isoforms. This pattern of differential injury by theAPOL1 risk alleles comparedwith the nonrisk alleles across evolutionarily divergent species is consistent with an impairment of conserved core intracellular endosomal trafficking processes. This finding should facilitate the identification of cell injury pathways and corresponding therapeutic targets of interest in these amenable experimental platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1130
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the American Society of Nephrology.


Dive into the research topics of 'APOL1-mediated cell injury involves disruption of conserved trafficking processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this