PowerPoint Slides for: Hypoxia-Inducible Factor-1α Activates the Transforming Growth Factor-β/SMAD3 Pathway in Kidney Tubular Epithelial Cells

<strong><em>Background:</em></strong> Kidney injury, including chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury, is a worldwide health problem. Hypoxia and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) are well-known factors that promote kidney injury. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) and SMAD3 are their main downstream transcriptional factors. Hypoxia-HIF pathway and TGF-β/SMAD3 pathway play a crucial role in the progression of kidney injury. However, reports on their interactions are limited, and the global transcriptional regulation under their control is almost unknown. <b><i>Methods:</i></b> Kidney tubular epithelial cells were cultured and stimulated by hypoxia and TGF-β. We detected global binding sites of HIF-1α and SMAD3 in cells using chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP-Seq), and measured the gene expression using RNA-sequencing (RNA-Seq). ChIP-quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to quantitatively evaluate bindings of SMAD3. <b><i>Results:</i></b> ChIP-Seq revealed that 2,065 and 5,003 sites were bound by HIF-1α and SMAD3, respectively, with 614 sites co-occupied by both factors. RNA-Seq showed that hypoxia and TGF-β stimulation causes synergistic upregulation of 249 genes, including collagen type I alpha 1 (COL1A1) and serpin peptidase inhibitor, clade E, member 1, which are well-known to be involved in fibrosis. Ontology of the 249 genes implied that the interaction of HIF-1α and SMAD3 is related to biological processes such as fibrosis. ChIP-qPCR of SMAD3 at HIF-1α binding sites near COL1A1 and SERPINE1 indicated that HIF-1α promotes the bindings of SMAD3, which is induced by TGF-β. <b><i>Conclusions:</i></b> These findings suggest that HIF-1α induced by hypoxia activates the TGF-β/SMAD3 pathway. This mechanism may promote kidney injury, especially by upregulating genes related to fibrosis.