In Mouse models, KP1 preserved kidney function and restored Klotho expression
Abstract: Loss of Klotho, an anti-aging protein, plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of chronic kidney diseases. As Klotho is a large transmembrane protein, it is challenging to harness it as a therapeutic remedy. Here we report the discovery of a Klotho-derived peptide 1 (KP1) protecting kidneys by targeting TGF-β signaling. By screening a series of peptides derived from human Klotho protein, we identified KP1 that repressed fibroblast activation by binding to TGF-β receptor 2 (TβR2) and disrupting the TGF-β/TβR2 engagement. As such, KP1 blocked TGF-β-induced activation of Smad2/3 and mitogen-activated protein kinases. In mouse models of renal fibrosis, intravenous injection of KP1 resulted in its preferential accumulation in injured kidneys. KP1 preserved kidney function, repressed TGF-β signaling, ameliorated renal fibrosis and restored endogenous Klotho expression. Together, our findings suggest that KP1 recapitulates the anti-fibrotic action of Klotho and offers a potential remedy in the fight against fibrotic kidney diseases.