Stromal Fat4 acts non-autonomously with Dachsous1/2 to restrict the nephron progenitor pool
ABSTRACT: Regulation of the balance between progenitor self-renewal and differentiation is critical to development. In the mammalian kidney, reciprocal signaling between three lineages (stromal, mesenchymal and ureteric) ensures correct nephron progenitor self-renewal and differentiation. Loss of either the atypical cadherin Fat4 or its ligand Dachsous1 (Dchs1) results in expansion of the mesenchymal nephron progenitor pool, called the condensing mesenchyme (CM). This has been proposed to be due to misregulation of the Hippo kinase pathway transcriptional co-activator YAP. Here, we use tissue-specific deletions to prove that Fat4 acts non-autonomously in the renal stroma to control nephron progenitors. We show that loss of Yap from the CM in a Fat4-null background does not reduce the expanded CM, indicating Fat4 regulates the CM independent of YAP. Analysis of Six2-/-;Fat4-/- double mutants demonstrates that excess progenitors in Fat4 mutants are dependent on Six2, a critical regulator of nephron progenitor self-renewal. Electron microscopy reveals that cell organization is disrupted in Fat4 mutants. Gene expression analysis demonstrates that the expression of Notch and FGF pathway components are altered in Fat4 mutants. Finally, we show that Dchs1, and its paralog Dchs2 function in a partially redundant fashion to regulate the number of nephron progenitors. Our data supports a model in which FAT4 in the stroma binds to DCHS1/2 in the CM to restrict progenitor self-renewal. A total of 3 Fat4-/- mutant embryos and 3 wildtype (Fat4+/+) control embryos were examined. Two kidneys from each embryo was used thereby yielding a total of 6 Fat4-/- mutant kidneys and 6 Fat4+/+ wildype kidneys. All kidneys examined were at E13.5.
Project description:Contrary to its classic role in restraining cell proliferation, we demonstrate here a divergent function of p53 in the maintenance of self-renewal of the nephron progenitor pool in the embryonic mouse kidney. Nephron endowment is regulated by progenitor availability and differentiation potential. Conditional deletion of p53 in nephron progenitor cells (Six2Cre(+);p53(fl/fl)) induces progressive depletion of Cited1(+)/Six2(+) self-renewing progenitors and loss of cap mesenchyme (CM) integrity. The Six2(p53-null) CM is disorganized, with interspersed stromal cells and an absence of a distinct CM-epithelia and CM-stroma interface. Impaired cell adhesion and epithelialization are indicated by decreased E-cadherin and NCAM expression and by ineffective differentiation in response to Wnt induction. The Six2Cre(+);p53(fl/fl) cap has 30% fewer Six2(GFP(+)) cells. Apoptotic index is unchanged, whereas proliferation index is significantly reduced in accordance with cell cycle analysis showing disproportionately fewer Six2Cre(+);p53(fl/fl) cells in the S and G2/M phases compared with Six2Cre(+);p53(+/+) cells. Mutant kidneys are hypoplastic with fewer generations of nascent nephrons. A significant increase in mean arterial pressure is observed in early adulthood in both germline and conditional Six2(p53-null) mice, linking p53-mediated defects in kidney development to hypertension. RNA-Seq analyses of FACS-isolated wild-type and Six2(GFP(+)) CM cells revealed that the top downregulated genes in Six2Cre(+);p53(fl/fl) CM belong to glucose metabolism and adhesion and/or migration pathways. Mutant cells exhibit a ? 50% decrease in ATP levels and a 30% decrease in levels of reactive oxygen species, indicating energy metabolism dysfunction. In summary, our data indicate a novel role for p53 in enabling the metabolic fitness and self-renewal of nephron progenitors.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Nephron progenitors, the cell population that give rise to the functional unit of the kidney, are metabolically active and self-renew under glycolytic conditions. A switch from glycolysis to mitochondrial respiration drives these cells toward differentiation, but the mechanisms that control this switch are poorly defined. Studies have demonstrated that kidney formation is highly dependent on oxygen concentration, which is largely regulated by von Hippel-Lindau (VHL; a protein component of a ubiquitin ligase complex) and hypoxia-inducible factors (a family of transcription factors activated by hypoxia). METHODS:To explore VHL as a regulator defining nephron progenitor self-renewal versus differentiation, we bred Six2-TGCtg mice with VHLlox/lox mice to generate mice with a conditional deletion of VHL from Six2+ nephron progenitors. We used histologic, immunofluorescence, RNA sequencing, and metabolic assays to characterize kidneys from these mice and controls during development and up to postnatal day 21. RESULTS:By embryonic day 15.5, kidneys of nephron progenitor cell-specific VHL knockout mice begin to exhibit reduced maturation of nephron progenitors. Compared with controls, VHL knockout kidneys are smaller and developmentally delayed by postnatal day 1, and have about half the number of glomeruli at postnatal day 21. VHL knockout nephron progenitors also exhibit persistent Six2 and Wt1 expression, as well as decreased mitochondrial respiration and prolonged reliance on glycolysis. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings identify a novel role for VHL in mediating nephron progenitor differentiation through metabolic regulation, and suggest that VHL is required for normal kidney development.
Project description:Nephron endowment is determined by the self-renewal and induction of a nephron progenitor pool established at the onset of kidney development. In the mouse, the related transcriptional regulators Six1 and Six2 play non-overlapping roles in nephron progenitors. Transient Six1 activity prefigures, and is essential for, active nephrogenesis. By contrast, Six2 maintains later progenitor self-renewal from the onset of nephrogenesis. We compared the regulatory actions of Six2 in mouse and human nephron progenitors by chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq). Surprisingly, SIX1 was identified as a SIX2 target unique to the human nephron progenitors. Furthermore, RNA-seq and immunostaining revealed overlapping SIX1 and SIX2 activity in 16 week human fetal nephron progenitors. Comparative bioinformatic analysis of human SIX1 and SIX2 ChIP-seq showed each factor targeted a similar set of cis-regulatory modules binding an identical target recognition motif. In contrast to the mouse where Six2 binds its own enhancers but does not interact with DNA around Six1, both human SIX1 and SIX2 bind homologous SIX2 enhancers and putative enhancers positioned around SIX1. Transgenic analysis of a putative human SIX1 enhancer in the mouse revealed a transient, mouse-like, pre-nephrogenic, Six1 regulatory pattern. Together, these data demonstrate a divergence in SIX-factor regulation between mouse and human nephron progenitors. In the human, an auto/cross-regulatory loop drives continued SIX1 and SIX2 expression during active nephrogenesis. By contrast, the mouse establishes only an auto-regulatory Six2 loop. These data suggest differential SIX-factor regulation might have contributed to species differences in nephron progenitor programs such as the duration of nephrogenesis and the final nephron count.
Project description:The regulation of final nephron number in the kidney is poorly understood. Cessation of nephron formation occurs when the self-renewing nephron progenitor population commits to differentiation. Transcription factors within this progenitor population, such as SIX2, are assumed to control expression of genes promoting self-renewal such that homozygous Six2 deletion results in premature commitment and an early halt to kidney development. In contrast, Six2 heterozygotes were assumed to be unaffected. Using quantitative morphometry, we found a paradoxical 18% increase in ureteric branching and final nephron number in Six2 heterozygotes, despite evidence for reduced levels of SIX2 protein and transcript. This was accompanied by a clear shift in nephron progenitor identity with a distinct subset of downregulated progenitor genes such as Cited1 and Meox1 while other genes were unaffected. The net result was an increase in nephron progenitor proliferation, as assessed by elevated EdU (5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine) labeling, an increase in MYC protein, and transcriptional upregulation of MYC target genes. Heterozygosity for Six2 on an Fgf20-/- background resulted in premature differentiation of the progenitor population, confirming that progenitor regulation is compromised in Six2 heterozygotes. Overall, our studies reveal a unique dose response of nephron progenitors to the level of SIX2 protein in which the role of SIX2 in progenitor proliferation versus self-renewal is separable.
Project description:The balanced self-renewal and differentiation of nephron progenitors are critical for kidney development and controlled, in part, by the transcription factor Six2, which antagonizes canonical Wnt signaling-mediated differentiation. A nuclear factor, Sall1, is expressed in Six2-positive progenitors as well as differentiating nascent nephrons, and it is essential for kidney formation. However, the molecular functions and targets of Sall1, especially the functions and targets in the nephron progenitors, remain unknown. Here, we report that Sall1 deletion in Six2-positive nephron progenitors results in severe progenitor depletion and apoptosis of the differentiating nephrons in mice. Analysis of mice with an inducible Sall1 deletion revealed that Sall1 activates genes expressed in progenitors while repressing genes expressed in differentiating nephrons. Sall1 and Six2 co-occupied many progenitor-related gene loci, and Sall1 bound to Six2 biochemically. In contrast, Sall1 did not bind to the Wnt4 locus suppressed by Six2. Sall1-mediated repression was also independent of its binding to DNA. Thus, Sall1 maintains nephron progenitors and their derivatives by a unique mechanism, which partly overlaps but is distinct from that of Six2: Sall1 activates progenitor-related genes in Six2-positive nephron progenitors and represses gene expression in Six2-negative differentiating nascent nephrons.
Project description:Deficient nephrogenesis is the major factor contributing to renal hypoplasia defined as abnormally small kidneys. Nephron induction during kidney development is driven by reciprocal interactions between progenitor cells of the cap mesenchyme (CM) and the ureteric bud (UB). The prorenin receptor (PRR) is a receptor for renin and prorenin, and an accessory subunit of the vacuolar proton pump H(+)-ATPase. Global loss of PRR is lethal in mice and PRR mutations are associated with a high blood pressure, left ventricular hypertrophy and X-linked mental retardation in humans. To circumvent lethality of the ubiquitous PRR mutation in mice and to determine the potential role of the PRR in nephrogenesis, we generated a mouse model with a conditional deletion of the PRR in Six2(+) nephron progenitors and their epithelial derivatives (Six2(PRR-/-)). Targeted ablation of PRR in Six2(+) nephron progenitors caused a marked decrease in the number of developing nephrons, small cystic kidneys and podocyte foot process effacement at birth, and early postnatal death. Reduced congenital nephron endowment resulted from premature depletion of nephron progenitor cell population due to impaired progenitor cell proliferation and loss of normal molecular inductive response to canonical Wnt/?-catenin signaling within the metanephric mesenchyme. At 2 months of age, heterozygous Six2(PRR+/-) mice exhibited focal glomerulosclerosis, decreased kidney function and massive proteinuria. Collectively, these findings demonstrate a cell-autonomous requirement for the PRR within nephron progenitors for progenitor maintenance, progression of nephrogenesis, normal kidney development and function.
Project description:Chromatin-remodeling complexes play critical roles in establishing gene expression patterns in response to developmental signals. How these epigenetic regulators determine the fate of progenitor cells during development of specific organs is not well understood. We found that genetic deletion of Brg1 (Smarca4), the core enzymatic protein in SWI/SNF, in nephron progenitor cells leads to severe renal hypoplasia. Nephron progenitor cells were depleted in Six2-Cre, Brg1flx/flx mice due to reduced cell proliferation. This defect in self-renewal, together with impaired differentiation resulted in a profound nephron deficit in Brg1 mutant kidneys. Sall1, a transcription factor that is required for expansion and maintenance of nephron progenitors, associates with SWI/SNF. Brg1 and Sall1 bind promoters of many progenitor cell genes and regulate expression of key targets that promote their proliferation.
Project description:Nephrons, the basic functional units of the kidney, are generated repetitively during kidney organogenesis from a mesenchymal progenitor population. Which cells within this pool give rise to nephrons and how multiple nephron lineages form during this protracted developmental process are unclear. We demonstrate that the Six2-expressing cap mesenchyme represents a multipotent nephron progenitor population. Six2-expressing cells give rise to all cell types of the main body of the nephron during all stages of nephrogenesis. Pulse labeling of Six2-expressing nephron progenitors at the onset of kidney development suggests that the Six2-expressing population is maintained by self-renewal. Clonal analysis indicates that at least some Six2-expressing cells are multipotent, contributing to multiple domains of the nephron. Furthermore, Six2 functions cell autonomously to maintain a progenitor cell status, as cap mesenchyme cells lacking Six2 activity contribute to ectopic nephron tubules, a mechanism dependent on a Wnt9b inductive signal. Taken together, our observations suggest that Six2 activity cell-autonomously regulates a multipotent nephron progenitor population.
Project description:In the kidney, formation of the functional filtration units, the nephrons, is essential for postnatal life. During development, mesenchymal progenitors tightly regulate the balance between self-renewal and differentiation to give rise to all nephron epithelia. Here, we investigated the functions of the Hippo pathway serine/threonine-protein kinases Lats1 and Lats2, which phosphorylate and inhibit the transcriptional coactivators Yap and Taz, in nephron progenitor cells. Genetic deletion of Lats1 and Lats2 in nephron progenitors of mice led to disruption of nephrogenesis, with an accumulation of spindle-shaped cells in both cortical and medullary regions of the kidney. Lineage-tracing experiments revealed that the cells that accumulated in the interstitium derived from nephron progenitor cells and expressed E-cadherin as well as vimentin, a myofibroblastic marker not usually detected after mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition. The accumulation of these interstitial cells associated with collagen deposition and ectopic expression of the myofibroblastic markers vimentin and ?-smooth-muscle actin in developing kidneys. Although these myofibroblastic cells had high Yap and Taz accumulation in the nucleus concomitant with a loss of phosphorylated Yap, reduction of Yap and/or Taz expression levels completely rescued the Lats1/2 phenotype. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Lats1/2 kinases restrict Yap/Taz activities to promote nephron progenitor cell differentiation in the mammalian kidney. Notably, our data also show that myofibroblastic cells can differentiate from nephron progenitors.
Project description:Self-renewal and proliferation of nephron progenitor cells and the decision to initiate nephrogenesis are crucial events directing kidney development. Despite recent advancements in defining lineage and regulators for the progenitors, fundamental questions about mechanisms driving expansion of the progenitors remain unanswered. Here we show that Eya1 interacts with Six2 and Myc to control self-renewing cell activity. Cell fate tracing reveals a developmental restriction of the Eya1(+) population within the intermediate mesoderm to nephron-forming cell fates and a common origin shared between caudal mesonephric and metanephric nephrons. Conditional inactivation of Eya1 leads to loss of Six2 expression and premature epithelialization of the progenitors. Six2 mediates translocation of Eya1 to the nucleus, where Eya1 uses its threonine phosphatase activity to control Myc phosphorylation/dephosphorylation and function in the progenitor cells. Our results reveal a functional link between Eya1, Six2, and Myc in driving the expansion and maintenance of the multipotent progenitors during nephrogenesis.