Calponin 2 (CNN2) is a prominent actin stabilizer. It regulates fatty acid oxidation (FAO) by interacting with estrogen receptor 2 (ESR2) to determine kidney fibrosis. However, whether CNN2 is actively involved in acute kidney injury (AKI) remains unclear. Here, we report that CNN2 was induced in human and animal kidneys after AKI. Knockdown of CNN2 preserved kidney function, mitigated tubular cell death and inflammation, and promoted cell proliferation. Distinct from kidney fibrosis, proteomics showed that the key elements in the FAO pathway had few changes during AKI, but we identified that 3-hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA synthase 2 (Hmgcs2), a rate-limiting enzyme of endogenous ketogenesis that promotes cell self-renewal, was markedly increased in CNN2-knockdown kidneys. The production of ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate and ATP was increased in CNN2-knockdown mice. Mechanistically, CNN2 interacted with ESR2 to negatively regulate the activities of mitochondrial sirtuin 5. Activated sirtuin 5 subsequently desuccinylated Hmgcs2 to produce energy for mitigating AKI. Understanding CNN2-mediated discrete fine-tuning of protein posttranslational modification is critical to optimize organ performance after AKI.


Yuan Gui, Zachary Palanza, Priya Gupta, Hanwen Li, Yuchen Pan, Yuanyuan Wang, Geneva Hargis, Donald L. Kreutzer, Yanlin Wang, Sheldon I. Bastacky, Yansheng Liu, Silvia Liu, Dong Zhou


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