KIM-1-mediated anti-inflammatory activity is preserved by MUC1 induction in the proximal tubule during ischemia-reperfusion injury

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2021 Aug 1;321(2):F135-F148. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00127.2021. Epub 2021 Jun 21.


Cell-associated kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) exerts an anti-inflammatory role following kidney injury by mediating efferocytosis and downregulating the NF-κB pathway. KIM-1 cleavage blunts its anti-inflammatory activities. We reported that mucin 1 (MUC1) is protective in a mouse model of ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). As both KIM-1 and MUC1 are induced in the proximal tubule (PT) during IRI and are a disintegrin and metalloprotease 17 (ADAM17) substrates, we tested the hypothesis that MUC1 protects KIM-1 activity. Muc1 knockout (KO) mice and wild-type (WT) littermates were subjected to IRI. KIM-1, MUC1, and ADAM17 levels (and signaling pathways) were assessed by immunoblot analysis. PT localization was assessed by confocal microscopy and an in situ proximity ligation assay. Findings were extended using human kidneys and urine as well as KIM-1-mediated efferocytosis assays in mouse PT cultures. In response to tubular injury in mouse and human kidneys, we observed induction and coexpression of KIM-1 and MUC1 in the PT. Compared with WT mice, Muc1 KO mice had higher urinary KIM-1 and lower kidney KIM-1. KIM-1 was apical in the PT of WT kidneys but predominately with luminal debris in Muc1 KO mice. Efferocytosis was reduced in Muc1 KO PT cultures compared with WT cultures, whereas inflammation was increased in Muc1 KO kidneys compared with WT kidneys. MUC1 was cleaved by ADAM17 in PT cultures and blocked KIM-1 shedding in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. We conclude that KIM-1-mediated efferocytosis and thus anti-inflammatory activity during IRI is preserved in the injured kidney by MUC1 inhibition of KIM-1 shedding.NEW & NOTEWORTHY KIM-1 plays a key role in the recovery of the tubule epithelium during renal IRI by mediating efferocytosis and associated signaling that suppresses inflammation. Excessive cleavage of KIM-1 by ADAM17 provides a decoy receptor that aggravates efferocytosis and subsequent signaling. Our data from experiments in mice, patients, and cultured cells show that MUC1 is also induced during IRI and competes with KIM-1 for cleavage by ADAM17. Consequently, MUC1 protects KIM-1 anti-inflammatory activity in the damaged kidney.

Keywords: acute kidney injury; efferocytosis; ischemia-reperfusion injury; kidney injury molecule-1; mucin 1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ADAM17 Protein / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Dogs
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Kidney / blood supply*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mucin-1 / genetics
  • Mucin-1 / metabolism*
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Reperfusion Injury / metabolism*


  • Havcr1 protein, mouse
  • Hepatitis A Virus Cellular Receptor 1
  • Mucin-1
  • muc1 protein, mouse
  • ADAM17 Protein

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.14364890