Research ArticleKidney Fibrosis

Cyclin G1 and TASCC regulate kidney epithelial cell G2-M arrest and fibrotic maladaptive repair

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Science Translational Medicine  23 Jan 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 476, eaav4754
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav4754

Taking kidney fibrosis to TASCC

The kidney has an inherent capacity to recover from acute injury; however, severe injury can lead to chronic kidney disease and fibrosis. Canaud et al. studied kidney epithelial cells’ maladaptive response to injury. The formation of target of rapamycin–autophagy spatial coupling compartments (TASCCs) in proximal epithelial cells was associated with cell cycle arrest and fibrosis in human chronic kidney disease, whereas knocking out cyclin G1 prevented TASCC formation and fibrosis in mouse models. This study provides mechanistic insight into renal fibrosis and identifies a potential therapeutic target.


Fibrosis contributes to the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Severe acute kidney injury can lead to CKD through proximal tubular cell (PTC) cycle arrest in the G2-M phase, with secretion of profibrotic factors. Here, we show that epithelial cells in the G2-M phase form target of rapamycin (TOR)–autophagy spatial coupling compartments (TASCCs), which promote profibrotic secretion similar to the senescence-associated secretory phenotype. Cyclin G1 (CG1), an atypical cyclin, promoted G2-M arrest in PTCs and up-regulated TASCC formation. PTC TASCC formation was also present in humans with CKD. Prevention of TASCC formation in cultured PTCs blocked secretion of profibrotic factors. PTC-specific knockout of a key TASCC component reduced the rate of kidney fibrosis progression in mice with CKD. CG1 induction and TASCC formation also occur in liver fibrosis. Deletion of CG1 reduced G2-M phase cells and TASCC formation in vivo. This study provides mechanistic evidence supporting how profibrotic G2-M arrest is induced in kidney injury and how G2-M–arrested PTCs promote fibrosis, identifying new therapeutic targets to mitigate kidney fibrosis.

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