A variety of stress stimuli, including ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, induce the transcriptional repressor ATF3 in the kidney. The functional consequences of this upregulation in ATF3 after renal I/R injury are not well understood. Here, we found that ATF3-deficient mice had higher renal I/R-induced mortality, kidney dysfunction, inflammation (number of infiltrating neutrophils, myeloperoxidase activity, and induction of IL-6 and P-selectin), and apoptosis compared with wild-type mice. Furthermore, gene transfer of ATF3 to the kidney rescued the renal I/R-induced injuries in the ATF3-deficient mice. Molecular and biochemical analysis revealed that ATF3 interacted directly with histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) and recruited HDAC1 into the ATF/NF-κB sites in the IL-6 and IL-12b gene promoters. The ATF3-associated HDAC1 deacetylated histones, which resulted in the condensation of chromatin structure, interference of NF-κB binding, and inhibition of inflammatory gene transcription after I/R injury. Taken together, these data demonstrate epigenetic regulation mediated by the stress-inducible gene ATF3 after renal I/R injury and suggest potential targeted approaches for acute kidney injury.
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