Renal aplasia in humans is associated with RET mutations.
ABSTRACT: In animal models, kidney formation is known to be controlled by the proteins RET, GDNF, and GFRA1; however, no human studies to date have shown an association between abnormal kidney development and mutation of these genes. We hypothesized that stillborn fetuses with congenital renal agenesis or severe dysplasia would possess mutations in RET, GDNF, or GFRA1. We assayed for mutations in these genes in 33 stillborn fetuses that had bilateral or unilateral renal agenesis (29 subjects) or severe congenital renal dysplasia (4 subjects). Mutations in RET were found in 7 of 19 fetuses with bilateral renal agenesis (37%) and 2 of 10 fetuses (20%) with unilateral agenesis. In two fetuses, there were two different RET mutations found, and a total of ten different sequence variations were identified. We also investigated whether these mutations affected RET activation; in each case, RET phosphorylation was either absent or constitutively activated. A GNDF mutation was identified in only one fetus with unilateral agenesis; this subject also had two RET mutations. No GFRA1 mutations were seen in any fetuses. These data suggest that in humans, mutations in RET and GDNF may contribute significantly to abnormal kidney development.
Project description:Signaling by the glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF)-RET receptor tyrosine kinase and SPRY1, a RET repressor, is essential for early urinary tract development. Individual or a combination of GDNF, RET and SPRY1 mutant alleles in mice cause renal malformations reminiscent of congenital anomalies of the kidney or urinary tract (CAKUT) in humans and distinct from renal agenesis phenotype in complete GDNF or RET-null mice. We sequenced GDNF, SPRY1 and RET in 122 unrelated living CAKUT patients to discover deleterious mutations that cause CAKUT. Novel or rare deleterious mutations in GDNF or RET were found in six unrelated patients. A family with duplicated collecting system had a novel mutation, RET-R831Q, which showed markedly decreased GDNF-dependent MAPK activity. Two patients with RET-G691S polymorphism harbored additional rare non-synonymous variants GDNF-R93W and RET-R982C. The patient with double RET-G691S/R982C genotype had multiple defects including renal dysplasia, megaureters and cryptorchidism. Presence of both mutations was necessary to affect RET activity. Targeted whole-exome and next-generation sequencing revealed a novel deleterious mutation G443D in GFR?1, the co-receptor for RET, in this patient. Pedigree analysis indicated that the GFR?1 mutation was inherited from the unaffected mother and the RET mutations from the unaffected father. Our studies indicate that 5% of living CAKUT patients harbor deleterious rare variants or novel mutations in GDNF-GFR?1-RET pathway. We provide evidence for the coexistence of deleterious rare and common variants in genes in the same pathway as a cause of CAKUT and discovered novel phenotypes associated with the RET pathway.
Project description:Renal hypodysplasia (RHD) is a heterogeneous condition encompassing a spectrum of kidney development defects including renal agenesis, hypoplasia, and (cystic) dysplasia. Heterozygous mutations of several genes have been identified as genetic causes of RHD with various severity. However, these genes and mutations are not associated with bilateral renal agenesis, except for RET mutations, which could be involved in a few cases. The pathophysiological mechanisms leading to total absence of kidney development thus remain largely elusive. By using a whole-exome sequencing approach in families with several fetuses with bilateral renal agenesis, we identified recessive mutations in the integrin ?8-encoding gene ITGA8 in two families. Itga8 homozygous knockout in mice is known to result in absence of kidney development. We provide evidence of a damaging effect of the human ITGA8 mutations. These results demonstrate that mutations of ITGA8 are a genetic cause of bilateral renal agenesis and that, at least in some cases, bilateral renal agenesis is an autosomal-recessive disease.
Project description:FAT4 mutations lead to several human diseases that disrupt the normal development of the kidney. However, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. In studying the duplex kidney phenotypes observed upon deletion of Fat4 in mice, we have uncovered an interaction between the atypical cadherin FAT4 and RET, a tyrosine kinase receptor essential for kidney development. Analysis of kidney development in Fat4-/- kidneys revealed abnormal ureteric budding and excessive RET signaling. Removal of one copy of the RET ligand Gdnf rescues Fat4-/- kidney development, supporting the proposal that loss of Fat4 hyperactivates RET signaling. Conditional knockout analyses revealed a non-autonomous role for Fat4 in regulating RET signaling. Mechanistically, we found that FAT4 interacts with RET through extracellular cadherin repeats. Importantly, expression of FAT4 perturbs the assembly of the RET-GFRA1-GDNF complex, reducing RET signaling. Thus, FAT4 interacts with RET to fine-tune RET signaling, establishing a juxtacrine mechanism controlling kidney development.
Project description:Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) binds a coreceptor GDNF family receptor ?1 (GFR?1) and forms a signaling complex with the receptor tyrosine kinase RET. GDNF-GFR?1-RET signaling activates cellular pathways that are required for normal induction of the ureteric bud (UB) from the Wolffian duct (WD). Failure of UB formation results in bilateral renal agenesis and perinatal lethality. Gfr?1 is expressed in both the epithelial and mesenchymal compartments of the developing kidney while Ret expression is specific to the epithelium. The biological importance of Gfr?1's wider tissue expression and its role in later kidney development are unclear. We discovered that conditional loss of Gfr?1 in the WD epithelium prior to UB branching is sufficient to cause renal agenesis. This finding indicates that Gfr?1 expressed in the nonepithelial structures cannot compensate for this loss. To determine Gfr?1's role in branching morphogenesis after UB induction we used an inducible Gfr?1-specific Cre-deletor strain and deleted Gfr?1 from the majority of UB tip cells post UB induction in vivo and in explant kidney cultures. We report that Gfr?1 excision from the epithelia compartment after UB induction caused a modest reduction in branching morphogenesis. The loss of Gfr?1 from UB-tip cells resulted in reduced cell proliferation and decreased activated ERK (pERK). Further, cells without Gfr?1 expression are able to populate the branching UB tips. These findings delineate previously unclear biological roles of Gfr?1 in the urinary tract and demonstrate its cell-type and stage-specific requirements in kidney development.
Project description:GDNF signaling through the Ret receptor tyrosine kinase is critical for ureteric bud branching morphogenesis during kidney development yet few of the downstream genes are currently known. We find that the ETS transcription factors Etv4 and Etv5 are positively regulated by Ret signaling in ureteric bud tips. Etv4-/-Etv5+/- mice display either renal agenesis or severe hypodysplasia, while kidney development fails completely in double homozygotes. We identify several genes whose expression in the ureteric bud depends on Etv4 and Etv5, including Cxcr4, Myb, Met, Mmp14. Thus, Etv4 and Etv5 are key components of a gene network downstream of Ret that promotes and controls renal branching morphogenesis. Experiment Overall Design: 3 plus GDNF and 2 minus GDNF chips were analyzed with different pooled samples for each chip (U74Av2 and 430A). Sample comparisons and statistical analysis were performed using dChip 1.3, using the Comparison Analysis feature to identify genes differentially expressed between the two groups. The following filtering criteria were used: the “lower limit” for fold-change between the means of the +GDNF and -GDNF samples must exceed 1.2 with a 90% confidence limit, and the absolute difference between the two group means must exceed 100.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a potent neurotrophic factor known to promote the survival and maintenance of neurons not only in the developing but also in the adult enteric nervous system. As diverticular disease (DD) is associated with reduced myenteric neurons, alterations of the GDNF system were studied in asymptomatic diverticulosis (diverticulosis) and DD. METHODS:Morphometric analysis for quantifying myenteric ganglia and neurons were assessed in colonic full-thickness sections of patients with diverticulosis and controls. Samples of tunica muscularis (TM) and laser-microdissected myenteric ganglia from patients with diverticulosis, DD and controls were analyzed for mRNA expression levels of GDNF, GFRA1, and RET by RT-qPCR. Myenteric protein expression of both receptors was quantified by fluorescence-immunohistochemistry of patients with diverticulosis, DD, and controls. RESULTS:Although no myenteric morphometric alterations were found in patients with diverticulosis, GDNF, GFRA1 and RET mRNA expression was down-regulated in the TM of patients with diverticulosis as well as DD. Furthermore GFRA1 and RET myenteric plexus mRNA expression of patients with diverticulosis and DD was down-regulated, whereas GDNF remained unaltered. Myenteric immunoreactivity of the receptors GFR?1 and RET was decreased in both asymptomatic diverticulosis and DD patients. CONCLUSION:Our data provide evidence for an impaired GDNF system at gene and protein level not only in DD but also during early stages of diverticula formation. Thus, the results strengthen the idea of a disturbed GDNF-responsiveness as contributive factor for a primary enteric neuropathy involved in the pathogenesis and disturbed intestinal motility observed in DD.
Project description:Glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and its relative neurturin (NTN) are potent trophic factors for motoneurons. They exert their biological effects by activating the RET tyrosine kinase in the presence of a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-linked co-receptor, either GFRalpha1 or GFRalpha2. By whole-mount in situ hybridization on embryonic mouse spinal cord, we demonstrate that whereas Ret is expressed by nearly all motoneurons, Gfra1 and Gfra2 exhibit complex and distinct patterns of expression. Most motoneurons purified from Gfra1 null mutant mice had lost their responsiveness to both GDNF and NTN. However, a minority of them ( approximately 25%) retained their ability to respond to both factors, perhaps because they express GFRalpha2. Surprisingly, Gfra2(-/-) motoneurons showed normal survival responses to both GDNF and NTN. Thus, GFRalpha1, but not GFRalpha2, is absolutely required for the survival response of a majority of motoneurons to both GDNF and NTN. In accordance with the phenotype of the mutant motoneurons observed in culture we found the loss of distinct groups of motoneurons, identified by several markers, in the Gfra1(-/-) spinal cords but no gross defects in the Gfra2(-/-) mutant. During their natural programmed cell death period, motoneurons in the Gfra1(-/-) mutant mice undertook increased apoptosis. Taken together these findings support the existence of subpopulations of motoneuron with different trophic requirements, some of them being dependent on the GDNF family.
Project description:Spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) are required for spermatogenesis. Earlier studies showed that glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) was indispensable for SSC self-renewal by binding to the GFRA1/RET receptor. Mice with mutations in these molecules showed impaired spermatogenesis, which was attributed to SSC depletion. Here we show that SSCs undergo GDNF-independent self-renewal. A small number of spermatogonia formed colonies when testis fragments from a Ret mutant mouse strain were transplanted into heterologous recipients. Moreover, fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) supplementation enabled in vitro SSC expansion without GDNF. Although GDNF-mediated self-renewal signaling required both AKT and MAP2K1/2, the latter was dispensable in FGF2-mediated self-renewal. FGF2-depleted testes exhibited increased levels of GDNF and were enriched for SSCs, suggesting that the balance between FGF2 and GDNF levels influences SSC self-renewal in vivo. Our results show that SSCs exhibit at least two modes of self-renewal and suggest complexity of SSC regulation in vivo.
Project description:The function of the isolectin B4 (IB4+)-binding and GDNF-dependent Ret (Ret+)-expressing non-peptidergic subpopulation of nociceptors remain poorly understood. We demonstrate that acute administration of GDNF sensitizes nociceptors and produces mechanical hyperalgesia in the rat. Intrathecal IB4-saporin, a selective toxin for IB4+/Ret+-nociceptors, attenuates GDNF but not NGF hyperalgesia. Conversely, intrathecal antisense to Trk A attenuated NGF but not GDNF hyperalgesia. Intrathecal administration of antisense oligodeoxynucleotides targeting mRNA for versican, the molecule that renders the Ret-expressing nociceptors IB4-positive (+), also attenuated GDNF but not NGF hyperalgesia, as did ADAMTS-4, a matrix metalloprotease known to degrade versican. Finally, inhibitors for all five signaling pathways known to be activated by GDNF at GFRa1/Ret: PLCc, CDK5, PI3K,MAPK/ERK and Src family kinases, attenuated GDNF hyperalgesia. Our results demonstrate a role of the non-peptidergic nociceptors in pain produced by the neurotrophin GDNF and suggest that the IB4-binding protein versican functions in the expression of this phenotype.
Project description:We recently developed a new model of renal agenesis [i.e., the heterogeneous stock derived model of unilateral renal agenesis, (HSRA)]. The HSRA model consistently exhibits unilateral renal agenesis ranging from 50-75% in each generation and is characterized by low nephron number, early kidney hypertrophy, and an inherent susceptibility to develop significant kidney injury and decline in renal function with age. Whole transcriptome analysis was evaluated at month 1 to identify early changes in genes/networks that may be involved in increased susceptibility of HSRA-S to develop kidney injury in the long-term. An n=4 per group (independent samples) were evaluated for HSRA-S (congenital solitary kidney) and HSRA-C (two-kidney). HSRA-C (two-kidney) samples were set as the control.