Ablation of Long Noncoding RNA Hoxb3os Exacerbates Cystogenesis in Mouse Polycystic Kidney Disease

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2024 Jan 1;35(1):41-55. doi: 10.1681/ASN.0000000000000265. Epub 2023 Nov 13.


Significance statement: Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a class of nonprotein coding RNAs with pivotal functions in development and disease. They have emerged as an exciting new drug target category for many common conditions. However, the role of lncRNAs in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) has been understudied. This study provides evidence implicating a lncRNA in the pathogenesis of ADPKD. We report that Hoxb3os is downregulated in ADPKD and regulates mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/Akt pathway in the in vivo mouse kidney. Ablating the expression of Hoxb3os in mouse polycystic kidney disease (PKD) activated mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) signaling and exacerbated the cystic phenotype. The results from our study provide genetic proof of concept for future studies that focus on targeting lncRNAs as a treatment option in PKD.

Background: ADPKD is a monogenic disorder characterized by the formation of kidney cysts and is primarily caused by mutations in two genes, PKD1 and PKD2 .

Methods: In this study, we investigated the role of lncRNA Hoxb3os in ADPKD by ablating its expression in the mouse.

Results: Hoxb3os -null mice were viable and had grossly normal kidney morphology but displayed activation of mTOR/Akt signaling and subsequent increase in kidney cell proliferation. To determine the role of Hoxb3os in cystogenesis, we crossed the Hoxb3os -null mouse to two orthologous Pkd1 mouse models: Pkhd1/Cre; Pkd1F/F (rapid cyst progression) and Pkd1RC/RC (slow cyst progression). Ablation of Hoxb3os exacerbated cyst growth in both models. To gain insight into the mechanism whereby Hoxb3os inhibition promotes cystogenesis, we performed western blot analysis of mTOR/Akt pathway between Pkd1 single-knockout and Pkd1 - Hoxb3os double-knockout (DKO) mice. Compared with single-knockout, DKO mice presented with enhanced levels of total and phosphorylated Rictor. This was accompanied by increased phosphorylation of Akt at Ser 473 , a known mTORC2 effector site. Physiologically, kidneys from DKO mice displayed between 50% and 60% increase in cell proliferation and cyst number.

Conclusions: The results from this study indicate that ablation of Hoxb3os in mouse PKD exacerbates cystogenesis and dysregulates mTORC2.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cysts* / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mammals / metabolism
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Polycystic Kidney Diseases* / metabolism
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant* / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding* / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding* / metabolism
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • TRPP Cation Channels / genetics
  • TRPP Cation Channels / metabolism


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sirolimus
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 2
  • TRPP Cation Channels
  • Pkhd1 protein, mouse

Supplementary concepts

  • Potter Type III Polycystic Kidney Disease