Expression of the RNA-stabilizing protein HuR in ischemia-reperfusion injury of rat kidney

Dina A. Ayupova, Mamata Singh, Ellen C. Leonard, David P. Basile, Beth S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The RNA-binding protein human antigen R (HuR) participates in the posttranscriptional regulation of mRNAs bearing 3′ AU-rich and U-rich elements, which HuR can stabilize under conditions of cellular stress. Using the LLC-PK1 proximal tubule cell line model, we recently suggested a role for HuR in protecting kidney epithelia from injury during ischemic stress (Jeyaraj S, Dakhlallah D, Hill SR, Lee BS. J Biol Chem 280: 37957-37964, 2005; Jeyaraj SC, Dakhlallah D, Hill SR, Lee BS. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 291: F1255-F1263, 2006). Here, we have extended this work to show that small interfering RNA-mediated suppression of HuR in LLC-PK1 cells increased apoptosis during energy depletion, while overexpression of HuR diminished apoptosis. Suppression of HuR also resulted in diminished levels of key cell survival proteins such as Bcl-2 and Hsp70. Furthermore, rat kidneys were subjected in vivo to transient ischemia followed by varying periods of reperfusion. Ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) affected intensity and distribution of HuR in a nephron segment-specific manner. Cells of the proximal tubule, which are most sensitive to I/R injury, demonstrated a transient shift of HuR to the cytoplasm immediately following ischemia. Over a 14-day period following the onset of reperfusion, nuclear and total HuR protein gradually increased in cortical and medullary proximal tubules, but not in nonproximal tubule cells. HuR mRNA was expressed in two forms with alternate transcriptional start sites that increased over a 14-day I/R period, and in vitro studies suggest selective translatability of these two mRNAs. Baseline and I/R-stimulated levels of HuR mRNA did not parallel those of HuR protein, suggesting translational control of HuR expression, particularly in medullary proximal tubules. These findings suggest that alterations in distribution and expression of the antiaptotic protein HuR specifically in cells of the proximal tubule effect a protective mechanism during and following I/R injury in kidney.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)F95-F105
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Proximal tubule
  • RNA-binding proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology

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