Research ArticleDISEASES AND DISORDERS

Activation of P-TEFb by cAMP-PKA signaling in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

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Science Advances  05 Jun 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 6, eaaw3593
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw3593

Abstract

Positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) functions as a central regulator of transcription elongation. Activation of P-TEFb occurs through its dissociation from the transcriptionally inactive P-TEFb/HEXIM1/7SK snRNP complex. However, the mechanisms of signal-regulated P-TEFb activation and its roles in human diseases remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that cAMP-PKA signaling disrupts the inactive P-TEFb/HEXIM1/7SK snRNP complex by PKA-mediated phosphorylation of HEXIM1 at serine-158. The cAMP pathway plays central roles in the development of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), and we show that P-TEFb is hyperactivated in mouse and human ADPKD kidneys. Genetic activation of P-TEFb promotes cyst formation in a zebrafish ADPKD model, while pharmacological inhibition of P-TEFb attenuates cyst development by suppressing the pathological gene expression program in ADPKD mice. Our study therefore elucidates a mechanism by which P-TEFb activation by cAMP-PKA signaling promotes cystogenesis in ADPKD.

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