SFB 1192

Project B3

The Ubiquitin Proteasome System in Glomerulonephritis

Membranous nephropathy (MN) is the most common cause of adult nephrotic syndrome. Primary MN is characterized by circulating autoantibodies against podocyte antigens, such as the phospholipase A2 receptor (PLA2R1) or the thrombospondin type -1 domain- containing 7A (THSD7A), and an increased expression of PLA2R1 and THSD7A protein but not transcript in podocytes. We demonstrated that persistent podocyte injury in human and rodent MN was characterized by an upregulation of proteolytic systems such as the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) in podocytes. With disease progression, the UPS was overwhelmed, resulting in an accumulation of damaged and poly-ubiquitinated proteins in podocytes. The ubiquitin-C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1), a central de-ubiquitinating enzyme of the neuronal UPS, was de novo expressed in podocytes in human and rodent MN. There, UCH-L1 was involved in the accumulation of proteins in the cytoplasm of injured podocytes. Chemical inhibition of UCH-L1 hydrolysis function ameliorated proteinuria and decreased protein accumulation in rodent MN, suggesting that influencing specific UPS components could be a new therapeutic option in MN.

In this project, we plan to connect these observations by addressing the functional role of the UPS, specifically of the proteasome and of proteasome activators, in orchestrating podocyte injury. In patients with MN and in two mouse models of proteinuric glomerulopathy, we will investigate the significance of the UPS for the diagnosis and course of disease. Furthermore, we will study the involvement of the UPS in THSD7A homeostasis in affected podocytes. Our studies will result in a better understanding of the role of the UPS in MN.


  • The Ubiquitin Proteasome System in Kidney Physiology and Disease.

    Meyer-Schwesinger CNat Rev Nephrol. 2019 Apr

  • Thrombospondin Type 1 Domain-Containing 7A (THSD7A) Localizes to the Slit Diaphragm and Stabilizes Membrane Dynamics of Fully Differentiated Podocytes.

    Herwig J, Skuza S, Sachs W, Sachs M, Failla AV, Rune G, Meyer TN, Fester L, Meyer-Schwesinger CJ Am Soc Nephrol. 2019 Apr

  • Ubiquitin C-Terminal Hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) loss causes neurodegeneration by altering protein turnover in the first postnatal weeks.

    Reinicke, AT, Laban, K, Sachs M, Kraus V, Walden M, Damme M, Sachs W, Reichelt J, Schweizer M, Janiesch CP, Duncan KE, Saftig P, Rischen MM, Morellini F, Meyer-Schwesinger CProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Mar

  • Protecting the kidney against autoimmunity and inflammation.

    Christian Kurts, Catherine Meyer-SchwesingerNat Rev Nephrol. 2018 Dec

  • Ubiquitin C-Terminal Hydrolase L1 is required for regulated protein degradation through the ubiquitin proteasome system in kidney

    Radón V, Czesla M, Reichelt J, Fehlert J, Hammel A, Rosendahl A, Knop J, Wiech T, Wenzel U, Sachs M, Reinicke A, Stahl R, Meyer-Schwesinger CKidney Int. 2018 Jan

  • A Heterologous Model of Thrombospondin Type 1 Domain-Containing 7A-Associated Membranous Nephropathy

    Tomas N, Meyer-Schwesinger C, von Spiegel H, Kotb A, Zahner G, Hoxha E, Helmchen U, Endlich N, Koch-Nolte F, Stahl R J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017 Nov

III. Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik
Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

Martinistrasse 52
20246 Hamburg, Germany
Tel:   +49-40-7410-51557
Fax:  +49-40-7410-59036
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.