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Our previous study indicated that Casein kinase 2 interacting protein-1 (CKIP-1) could promote the activation of the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/ antioxidant response element (ARE) pathway, playing a significant role in inhibiting the fibrosis of diabetic nephropathy (DN). However, the underlying mechanism is still unknown. Here, we investigated whether CKIP-1 affects the polyubiquitination of Nrf2 and its cytosolic inhibitor kelch like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) via mediating Smad ubiquitylation regulatory factor-1 (Smurf1) to promote the activation of the Nrf2/ARE signaling and resist high glucose (HG)-induced renal fibrosis in glomerular mesangial cells (GMCs) and diabetic mice kidneys. Results showed that the expression of Smurf1 increased in HG-induced GMCs, with a paramount upregulation at 1 h. Overexpression of wild-type Smurf1 plasmid further promoted the HG-induced the over-production of fibronectin (FN) and intercellular adhesionmolecule-1 (ICAM-1), and depletion of Smurf1 dramatically reduced the expression of FN and ICAM-1. Overexpression of CKIP-1 decreased the K48-linked polyubiquitination and increased the K63-linked polyubiquitination of Nrf2 as well as enhanced the K48-linked polyubiquitination and reduced K63-linked polyubiquitination of Keap1, promoting the activation of the Nrf2/ARE pathway. Overexpression of Smurf1 increased the K48-linked polyubiquitination and decreased the K63-linked polyubiquitination of Nrf2, and down-regulated the K48-linked polyubiquitination and up-regulated the K63-linked polyubiquitination of Keap1, inhibiting the activation of the Nrf2/ARE pathway. CKIP-1 promoted the degradation of Smurf1 by increasing the ubiquitination of Smurf1. Treatment of CKIP-1 adenovirus infection reduced the Smurf1 levels, promoted the activation of the Nrf2/ARE pathway as well as suppressed the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and then improved the failure of renal function of diabetic mice. Experiments above suggested that CKIP-1 affects the polyubiquitination of Nrf2 and Keap1 and promotes the Nrf2-ARE pathway through down-regulating Smurf1 to resist HG-induced up-regulation of FN and ICAM-1 in GMCs and diabetic mice kidneys.Smurf1 involves in the progress of DN because of its ubiquitin ligase activity.Both Nrf2 and Keap1 can be polyubiquitinated.CKIP-1 affects the polyubiquitination of Nrf2 and Keap1 via Smurf1.CKIP-1 adenovirus improved antioxidant ability and renal failure of diabetic mice.