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The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) is a highly adaptive process to meet metabolic demands of the cell, and its dysregulation has been associated with diverse clinical pathologies. However, the role and nature of impaired ETC in kidney diseases remains poorly understood. Here, we generated diabetic mice with podocyte-specific overexpression of Ndufs4, an accessory subunit of mitochondrial complex I, as a model to investigate the role of ETC integrity in diabetic kidney disease (DKD). We find that these conditional mice exhibit significant improvements in cristae morphology, mitochondrial dynamics, and albuminuria. By coupling proximity labeling with super-resolution imaging, we also identify the role of cristae shaping proteins in linking NDUFS4 with improved cristae morphology. Taken together, we discover the central role of NDUFS4 as a powerful regulator of cristae remodeling, respiratory supercomplexes assembly, and mitochondrial ultrastructure



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