Rho-GTPase Activating Protein myosin MYO9A identified as a novel candidate gene for monogenic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis

Kidney Int. 2021 May;99(5):1102-1117. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2020.12.022. Epub 2021 Jan 4.


Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a podocytopathy leading to kidney failure, whose molecular cause frequently remains unresolved. Here, we describe a rare MYO9A loss of function nonsense heterozygous mutation (p.Arg701) as a possible contributor to disease in a sibling pair with familial FSGS/proteinuria. MYO9A variants of uncertain significance were identified by whole exome sequencing in a cohort of 94 biopsy proven patients with FSGS. MYO9A is an unconventional myosin with a Rho-GAP domain that controls epithelial cell junction assembly, crosslinks and bundles actin and deactivates the small GTPase protein encoded by the RHOA gene. RhoA activity is associated with cytoskeleton regulation of actin stress fiber formation and actomyosin contractility. Myo9A was detected in mouse and human podocytes in vitro and in vivo. Knockin mice carrying the p.Arg701MYO9A (Myo9AR701X) generated by gene editing developed proteinuria, podocyte effacement and FSGS. Kidneys and podocytes from Myo9AR701X/+ mutant mice revealed Myo9A haploinsufficiency, increased RhoA activity, decreased Myo9A-actin-calmodulin interaction, impaired podocyte attachment and migration. Our results indicate that Myo9A is a novel component of the podocyte cytoskeletal apparatus that regulates RhoA activity and podocyte function. Thus, Myo9AR701X/+ knock-in mice recapitulate the proband FSGS phenotype, demonstrate that p.R701X Myo9A is an FSGS-causing mutation in mice and suggest that heterozygous loss-of-function MYO9A mutations may cause a novel form of human autosomal dominant FSGS. Hence, identification of MYO9A pathogenic variants in additional individuals with familial or sporadic FSGS is needed to ascertain the gene contribution to disease.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00135811.

Keywords: FSGS; MYO9A variants; Myo9A-actin-calmodulin interaction; RhoA activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / genetics
  • Glomerulosclerosis, Focal Segmental* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Myosins / genetics*
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Podocytes*


  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • MYO9A protein, human
  • Myosins

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00135811