An increasing amount of evidence suggests that metabolic alterations play a key role in chronic kidney disease (CKD) pathogenesis. In this issue of the JCI, Long et al. report that the long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) taurine-upregulated 1 (Tug1) contributes to CKD development. The authors show that Tug1 regulates mitochondrial function in podocytes by epigenetic targeting of expression of the transcription factor PPARγ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α, encoded by Ppargc1a). Transgenic overexpression of Tug1 specifically in podocytes ameliorated diabetes-induced CKD in mice. Together, these results highlight an important connection between lncRNA-mediated metabolic alterations in podocytes and kidney disease development.