Signaling of mitochondrial biogenesis following oxidant injury

Kyle A. Rasbach, Rick G. Schnellmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common consequence of ischemia-reperfusion and drug injuries. For example, sublethal injury of renal proximal tubular cells (RPTCs) with the model oxidant tert-butylhydroperoxide (TBHP) causes mitochondrial injury that recovers over the course of six days. Although regeneration of mitochondrial function is integral to cell repair and function, the signaling pathway of mitochondrial biogenesis following oxidant injury has not been examined. A 10-fold overexpression of the mitochondrial biogenesis regulator PPAR-γ cofactor-1α (PGC-1α) in control RPTCs resulted in a 52% increase in mitochondrial number, a 27% increase in respiratory capacity, and a 30% increase in mitochondrial protein markers, demonstrating that PGC-1α mediates mitochondrial biogenesis in RPTCs. RPTCs sublethally injured with TBHP exhibited a 50% decrease in mitochondrial function and increased mitochondrial autophagy. Compared with the controls, PGC-1α levels increased 12-fold on days 1, 2, and 3 post-injury and returned to base line on day 4 as mitochondrial function returned. Inhibition p38 MAPK blocked the up-regulation of PGC-1α following oxidant injury, whereas inhibition of calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase, calcineurin A, nitric-oxide synthase, and phosphoinositol 3-kinase had no effect. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was activated following TBHP exposure, and the EGFR inhibitor AG1478 blocked the up-regulation of PGC-1α. Additional inhibitor studies revealed that the sequential activation of Src, p38 MAPK, EGFR, and p38 MAPK regulate the expression of PGC-1α following oxidant injury. In contrast, although Akt was activated following oxidant injury, it did not play a role in PGC-1α expression. We suggest that mitochondrial biogenesis following oxidant injury is mediated by p38 and EGFR activation of PGC-1α.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2355-2362
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 26 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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