MAGE genes in the kidney: identification of MAGED2 as upregulated during kidney injury and in stressed tubular cells

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2019 Sep 1;34(9):1498-1507. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfy367.


Background: Mutations in Melanoma Antigen-encoding Gene D2 (MAGED2) promote tubular dysfunction, suggesting that MAGE proteins may play a role in kidney pathophysiology. We have characterized the expression and regulation of MAGE genes in normal kidneys and during kidney disease.

Methods: The expression of MAGE genes and their encoded proteins was explored by systems biology multi-omics (kidney transcriptomics and proteomics) in healthy adult murine kidneys and following induction of experimental acute kidney injury (AKI) by a folic acid overdose. Changes in kidney expression during nephrotoxic AKI were validated by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), western blot and immunohistochemistry. Factors regulating gene expression were studied in cultured tubular cells.

Results: Five MAGE genes (MAGED1, MAGED2, MAGED3, MAGEH1, MAGEE1) were expressed at the mRNA level in healthy adult mouse kidneys, as assessed by RNA-Seq. Additionally, MAGED2 was significantly upregulated during experimental AKI as assessed by array transcriptomics. Kidney proteomics also identified MAGED2 as upregulated during AKI. The increased kidney expression of MAGED2 mRNA and protein was confirmed by qRT-PCR and western blot, respectively, in murine folic acid- and cisplatin-induced AKI. Immunohistochemistry located MAGED2 to tubular cells in experimental and human kidney injury. Tubular cell stressors [serum deprivation and the inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK)] upregulated MAGED2 in cultured tubular cells.

Conclusions: MAGED2 is upregulated in tubular cells in experimental and human kidney injury and is increased by stressors in cultured tubular cells. This points to a role of MAGED2 in tubular cell injury during kidney disease that should be dissected by carefully designed functional approaches.

Keywords: MAGED2; acute kidney injury; chronic kidney disease; inflammation; tweak.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / genetics
  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism
  • Acute Kidney Injury / pathology*
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism*
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokine TWEAK / genetics
  • Cytokine TWEAK / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology*
  • Female
  • Kidney Tubules / injuries
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism
  • Kidney Tubules / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Cytokine TWEAK
  • Maged1 protein, mouse
  • Maged2 protein, mouse
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Tnfsf12 protein, mouse
  • trophinin, mouse