METTL14 aggravates podocyte injury and glomerulopathy progression through N6-methyladenosine-dependent downregulating of Sirt1

Cell Death Dis. 2021 Sep 27;12(10):881. doi: 10.1038/s41419-021-04156-y.


Podocytes are known to play a determining role in the progression of proteinuric kidney disease. N6-methyladenosine (m6A), as the most abundant chemical modification in eukaryotic mRNA, has been reported to participate in various pathological processes. However, its role in podocyte injury remains unclear. In this study, we observed the elevated m6A RNA levels and the most upregulated METTL14 expression in kidneys of mice with adriamycin (ADR) and diabetic nephropathy. METTL14 was also evidently increased in renal biopsy samples from patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and diabetic nephropathy and in cultured human podocytes with ADR or advanced glycation end product (AGE) treatment in vitro. Functionally, we generated mice with podocyte-specific METTL14 deletion, and identified METTL14 knockout in podocytes improved glomerular function and alleviated podocyte injury, characterized by activation of autophagy and inhibition of apoptosis and inflammation, in mice with ADR nephropathy. Similar to the results in vivo, knockdown of METTL14 facilitated autophagy and alleviated apoptosis and inflammation in podocytes under ADR or AGE condition in vitro. Mechanically, we identified METTL14 knockdown upregulated the level of Sirt1, a well-known protective deacetylase in proteinuric kidney diseases, in podocytes with ADR or AGE treatment. The results of MeRIP-qPCR and dual-luciferase reporter assay indicated METTL14 promoted Sirt1 mRNA m6A modification and degradation in injured podocytes. Our findings suggest METTL14-dependent RNA m6A modification contributes to podocyte injury through posttranscriptional regulation of Sirt1 mRNA, which provide a potential approach for the diagnosis and treatment of podocytopathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Adenosine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Autophagy / genetics
  • Cytoprotection
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / genetics
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / pathology
  • Disease Progression*
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Doxorubicin
  • Gene Silencing
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / pharmacology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Male
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Biological
  • Podocytes / metabolism
  • Podocytes / pathology*
  • Podocytes / ultrastructure
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sirtuin 1 / genetics*
  • Sirtuin 1 / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Doxorubicin
  • N-methyladenosine
  • Methyltransferases
  • Mettl14 protein, mouse
  • Sirtuin 1
  • Adenosine