A human-mouse chimera of the alpha3alpha4alpha5(IV) collagen protomer rescues the renal phenotype in Col4a3-/- Alport mice.
ABSTRACT: Collagen IV is a major structural component of basement membranes. In the glomerular basement membrane (GBM) of the kidney, the alpha3, alpha4, and alpha5(IV) collagen chains form a distinct network that is essential for the long-term stability of the glomerular filtration barrier, and is absent in most patients affected with Alport syndrome, a progressive inherited nephropathy associated with mutation in COL4A3, COL4A4, or COL4A5 genes. To investigate, in vivo, the regulation of the expression, assembly, and function of the alpha3alpha4alpha5(IV) protomer, we have generated a yeast artificial chromosome transgenic line of mice carrying the human COL4A3-COL4A4 locus. Transgenic mice expressed the human alpha3 and alpha4(IV) chains in a tissue-specific manner. In the kidney, when expressed onto a Col4a3(-/-) background, the human alpha3(IV) chain restored the expression of and co-assembled with the mouse alpha4 and alpha5(IV) chains specifically at sites where the human alpha3(IV) was expressed, demonstrating that the expression of all three chains is required for network assembly. The co-assembly of the human and mouse chains into a hybrid network in the GBM restores a functional GBM and rescues the Alport phenotype, providing further evidence that defective assembly of the alpha3-alpha4-alpha5(IV) protomer, caused by mutations in any of the three chains, is the pathogenic mechanism responsible for the disease. This line of mice, humanized for the alpha3(IV) collagen chain, will also provide a valuable model for studying the pathogenesis of Goodpasture syndrome, an autoimmune disease caused by antibodies against this chain.
Project description:Type IV collagen is a predominant component of basement membranes, and glomeruli of a kidney filter approximately 70-90 liters of plasma every day through a specialized glomerular basement membrane (GBM). In Alport syndrome, a progressive disease primarily affecting kidneys, mutations in GBM-associated type IV collagen genes (COL4A3, COL4A4, or COL4A5) lead to basement membrane structural defects, proteinuria, renal failure, and an absence of all three GBM collagen triple helical chains because of obligatory posttranslational assembly requirements. Here, we demonstrate that transplantation of wild-type bone marrow (BM) into irradiated COL4A3(-/-) mice results in a possible recruitment of BM-derived progenitor cells as epithelial cells (podocytes) and mesangial cells within the damaged glomerulus, leading to a partial restoration of expression of the type IV collagen alpha3 chain with concomitant emergence of alpha4 and alpha5 chain expression, improved glomerular architecture associated with a significant reduction in proteinuria, and improvement in overall kidney histology compared with untreated COL4A3(-/-) mice or irradiated COL4A3(-/-) mice with BM from adult COL4A3(-/-) mice. The alpha3(IV) collagen produced by BM-derived podocytes integrates into the GBM and associates with other alpha-chains to form type IV collagen triple helical networks. This study demonstrates that BM-derived stem cells can offer a viable strategy for repairing basement membrane defects and conferring therapeutic benefit for patients with Alport syndrome.
Project description:Autosomal recessive Alport syndrome is a progressive hematuric glomerulonephritis characterized by glomerular basement membrane abnormalities and associated with mutations in either the COL4A3 or the COL4A4 gene, which encode the alpha3 and alpha4 type IV collagen chains, respectively. To date, mutation screening in the two genes has been hampered by the lack of genomic structure information. We report here the complete characterization of the 48 exons of the COL4A4 gene, a comprehensive gene screen, and the subsequent detection of 10 novel mutations in eight patients diagnosed with autosomal recessive Alport syndrome. Furthermore, we identified a glycine to alanine substitution in the collagenous domain that is apparently silent in the heterozygous carriers, in 11.5% of all control individuals, and in one control individual homozygous for this glycine substitution. There has been no previous finding of a glycine substitution that is not associated with any obvious phenotype in homozygous individuals.
Project description:X-linked Alport syndrome is a progressive nephropathy associated with mutations in the COL4A5 gene. The kidney usually lacks the alpha3-alpha6 chains of collagen type IV, although each is coded by a separate gene. The molecular basis for this loss remains unclear. In canine X-linked hereditary nephritis, a model for X-linked Alport syndrome, a COL4A5 mutation results in reduced mRNA levels for the alpha3, alpha4, and alpha5 chains in the kidney, implying a mechanism coordinating the production of these 3 chains. To examine whether production of alpha6 chain is under the same control, we studied smooth muscle cells from this animal model. We determined the canine COL4A5 and COL4A6 genes are separated by 435 bp, with two first exons for COL4A6 separated by 978 bp. These two regions are >/= 78% identical to the human sequences that have promoter activity. Despite this potential basis for coordinated transcription of the COL4A5 and COL4A6 genes, the alpha6 mRNA level remained normal in affected male dog smooth muscle while the alpha5 mRNA level was markedly reduced. However, both alpha5 and alpha6 chains were absent at the protein level. Our results suggest that production of the alpha6 chain is under a control mechanism separate from that coordinating the alpha3-alpha5 chains and that the lack of the alpha6 chain in Alport syndrome is related to a failure at the protein assembly level, raising the possibility that the alpha5 and alpha6 chains are present in the same network. The lack of the alpha6 chain does not obviously result in disease, in particular leiomyomatosis, as is seen in Alport patients with deletions involving the COL4A5 and COL4A6 genes.
Project description:The glomerular basement membrane (GBM) is a key component of the filtering unit in the kidney. Mutations involving any of the collagen IV genes (COL4A3, COL4A4, and COL4A5) affect GBM assembly and cause Alport syndrome, a progressive hereditary kidney disease with no definitive therapy. Previously, we have demonstrated that the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist uterine sensitization-associated gene-1 (USAG-1) negatively regulates the renoprotective action of BMP-7 in a mouse model of tubular injury during acute renal failure. Here, we investigated the role of USAG-1 in renal function in Col4a3-/- mice, which model Alport syndrome. Ablation of Usag1 in Col4a3-/- mice led to substantial attenuation of disease progression, normalization of GBM ultrastructure, preservation of renal function, and extension of life span. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that USAG-1 and BMP-7 colocalized in the macula densa in the distal tubules, lying in direct contact with glomerular mesangial cells. Furthermore, in cultured mesangial cells, BMP-7 attenuated and USAG-1 enhanced the expression of MMP-12, a protease that may contribute to GBM degradation. These data suggest that the pathogenetic role of USAG-1 in Col4a3-/- mice might involve crosstalk between kidney tubules and the glomerulus and that inhibition of USAG-1 may be a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of Alport syndrome.
Project description:Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a histological lesion with many causes, including inherited genetic defects, with significant proteinuria being the predominant clinical finding at presentation. Mutations in COL4A3 and COL4A4 are known to cause Alport syndrome (AS), thin basement membrane nephropathy, and to result in pathognomonic glomerular basement membrane (GBM) findings. Secondary FSGS is known to develop in classic AS at later stages of the disease. Here, we present seven families with rare or novel variants in COL4A3 or COL4A4 (six with single and one with two heterozygous variants) from a cohort of 70 families with a diagnosis of hereditary FSGS. The predominant clinical finding at diagnosis was proteinuria associated with hematuria. In all seven families, there were individuals with nephrotic-range proteinuria with histologic features of FSGS by light microscopy. In one family, electron microscopy showed thin GBM, but four other families had variable findings inconsistent with classical Alport nephritis. There was no recurrence of disease after kidney transplantation. Families with COL4A3 and COL4A4 variants that segregated with disease represent 10% of our cohort. Thus, COL4A3 and COL4A4 variants should be considered in the interpretation of next-generation sequencing data from such patients. Furthermore, this study illustrates the power of molecular genetic diagnostics in the clarification of renal phenotypes.
Project description:Alport disease in humans, which usually results in proteinuria and kidney failure, is caused by mutations to the COL4A3, COL4A4, or COL4A5 genes, and absence of collagen ?3?4?5(IV) networks found in mature kidney glomerular basement membrane (GBM). The Alport mouse harbors a deletion of the Col4a3 gene, which also results in the lack of GBM collagen ?3?4?5(IV). This animal model shares many features with human Alport patients, including the retention of collagen ?1?2?1(IV) in GBMs, effacement of podocyte foot processes, gradual loss of glomerular barrier properties, and progression to renal failure. To learn more about the pathogenesis of Alport disease, we undertook a discovery proteomics approach to identify proteins that were differentially expressed in glomeruli purified from Alport and wild-type mouse kidneys. Pairs of cy3- and cy5-labeled extracts from 5-week old Alport and wild-type glomeruli, respectively, underwent 2-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis. Differentially expressed proteins were digested with trypsin and prepared for mass spectrometry, peptide ion mapping/fingerprinting, and protein identification through database searching. The intermediate filament protein, vimentin, was upregulated ?2.5 fold in Alport glomeruli compared to wild-type. Upregulation was confirmed by quantitative real time RT-PCR of isolated Alport glomeruli (5.4 fold over wild-type), and quantitative confocal immunofluorescence microscopy localized over-expressed vimentin specifically to Alport podocytes. We next hypothesized that increases in vimentin abundance might affect the basement membrane protein receptors, integrins, and screened Alport and wild-type glomeruli for expression of integrins likely to be the main receptors for GBM type IV collagen and laminin. Quantitative immunofluorescence showed an increase in integrin ?1 expression in Alport mesangial cells and an increase in integrin ?3 in Alport podocytes. We conclude that overexpression of mesangial integrin ?1 and podocyte vimentin and integrin ?3 may be important features of glomerular Alport disease, possibly affecting cell-signaling, cell shape and cellular adhesion to the GBM.
Project description:To investigate the role of the zinc finger e-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1) transcription factor in posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy 3 by demonstrating its ability to regulate type IV collagen gene transcription via binding to putative E2 box motifs.Putative E2 box motifs were identified by in silico analysis within the promoter region of collagen, type IV, alpha3 (COL4A3) and collagen, type IV, alpha4 (COL4A4). To test the ability of ZEB1 to bind to each identified E2 box, electrophoretic mobility shift assays were performed by incubating ZEB1-enriched nuclear extracts with DIG-labeled probes containing one of each of the identified E2 box motifs. Dual-luciferase reporter assays were performed to test the effects of ZEB1 on the luciferase activity of COL4A3 and cadherin 1 (CDH1) promoter constructs, and to determine the effect of a ZEB1 truncating mutation on CDH1 promoter activity.ZEB1 exhibited binding to six of the nine COL4A3 E2 box probes, whereas no binding was observed for either of the two COL4A4 E2 box probes. ZEB1 overexpression resulted in reduced activity of the COL4A3 promoter construct containing all identified E2 box motifs, whereas a truncating ZEB1 mutation led to the loss of ZEB1-dependent repression of the CDH1 promoter.COL4A3 gene expression is negatively regulated by ZEB1 binding to E2 box motifs in the COL4A3 promoter region. Therefore, the altered expression of type IV collagens, particularly COL4A3, in the corneal endothelium in individuals with PPCD3 is likely due to reduced transcriptional repression in the setting of a single functional ZEB1 allele.
Project description:Alport syndrome is an inherited nephropathy associated with mutations in genes encoding type IV collagen chains present in the glomerular basement membrane. COL4A5 mutations are associated with the major X-linked form of the disease, and COL4A3 and COL4A4 mutations are associated with autosomal recessive and dominant forms (thought to be involved in 15% and 1%-5% of the families, respectively) and benign familial hematuria. Mutation screening of these three large genes is time-consuming and expensive. Here, we carried out a combination of multiplex PCR, amplicon quantification, and next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of three genes in 101 unrelated patients. We identified 88 mutations and 6 variations of unknown significance on 116 alleles in 83 patients. Two additional indel mutations were found only by secondary Sanger sequencing, but they were easily identified retrospectively with the web-based sequence visualization tool Integrative Genomics Viewer. Altogether, 75 mutations were novel. Sequencing the three genes simultaneously was particularly advantageous as the mode of inheritance could not be determined with certainty in many instances. The proportion of mutations in COL4A3 and COL4A4 was notably high, and the autosomal dominant forms of Alport syndrome appear more frequently than reported previously. Finally, this approach allowed the identification of large COL4A3 and COL4A4 rearrangements not described previously. We conclude that NGS is efficient, reduces screening time and cost, and facilitates the provision of appropriate genetic counseling in Alport syndrome.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Alport syndrome is an inherited renal disease caused by mutations in COL4A3, COL4A4, or COL4A5 genes. Coexisting mutations in either two of the three genes in Alport patients have been reported recently. However, the effect of heterozygous mutations in COL4A3 or COL4A4 genes in X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS) patients is unclear. METHODS:Using targeted next-generation sequencing, six unrelated Chinese children were identified to have a combination of a pathogenic variant in COL4A5 and a heterozygous mutation in COL4A3 or COL4A4. They were three males and three females. Another three XLAS males each with only one pathogenic variant in COL4A5 were included. The clinical data were analyzed and compared between the males in two groups (group 1, males with a pathogenic variant in COL4A5 and a heterozygous pathogenic variant in COL4A3 or COL4A4; group 2, males with only one pathogenic variant in COL4A5). RESULTS:Patients with XLAS who also had heterozygous pathogenic COL4A3 or COL4A4 variants accounted for 1% of Alport syndrome. In this study, three children showed coexisting pathogenic variants in COL4A5 and COL4A3. Two children showed pathogenic variants in COL4A5 and COL4A4. One child had pathogenic variants in the three COL4A3-5 genes, in which the pathogenic variant in COL4A5 was de novo and the pathogenic variants in COL4A4 and COL4A3 were inherited independently (in trans). The site and type of mutations in COL4A5 were similar between the two groups. It was revealed that males in group 1 presented more severe proteinuria than males in group 2 (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION:The present study provides further evidence for complicated genotype in Alport syndrome. For the first time, we reported a case with three pathogenic variants in COL4A5, COL4A3, and COL4A4 genes. Moreover, we found that heterozygous pathogenic COL4A3 or COL4A4 variants are likely to make XLAS disease more serious.
Project description:Alport syndrome results from mutations in genes encoding collagen alpha3(IV), alpha4(IV), or alpha5(IV) and is characterized by progressive glomerular disease associated with a high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. Earlier studies of a gene knockout mouse model for Alport syndrome noted thickening of strial capillary basement membranes in the cochlea, suggesting that the stria vascularis is the primary site of cochlear pathogenesis. Here we combine a novel cochlear microdissection technique with molecular analyses to illustrate significant quantitative alterations in strial expression of mRNAs encoding matrix metalloproteinases-2, -9, -12, and -14. Gelatin zymography of extracts from the stria vascularis confirmed these findings. Treatment of Alport mice with a small molecule inhibitor of these matrix metalloproteinases exacerbated strial capillary basement membrane thickening, demonstrating that alterations in basement membrane metabolism result in matrix accumulation in the strial capillary basement membranes. This is the first demonstration of true quantitative analysis of specific mRNAs for matrix metalloproteinases in a cochlear microcompartment. Further, these data suggest that the altered basement membrane composition in Alport stria influences the expression of genes involved in basement membrane metabolism.