Identification of human nephron progenitors capable of generation of kidney structures and functional repair of chronic renal disease.
ABSTRACT: Identification of tissue-specific renal stem/progenitor cells with nephrogenic potential is a critical step in developing cell-based therapies for renal disease. In the human kidney, stem/progenitor cells are induced into the nephrogenic pathway to form nephrons until the 34 week of gestation, and no equivalent cell types can be traced in the adult kidney. Human nephron progenitor cells (hNPCs) have yet to be isolated. Here we show that growth of human foetal kidneys in serum-free defined conditions and prospective isolation of NCAM1(+) cells selects for nephron lineage that includes the SIX2-positive cap mesenchyme cells identifying a mitotically active population with in vitro clonogenic and stem/progenitor properties. After transplantation in the chick embryo, these cells-but not differentiated counterparts-efficiently formed various nephron tubule types. hNPCs engrafted and integrated in diseased murine kidneys and treatment of renal failure in the 5/6 nephrectomy kidney injury model had beneficial effects on renal function halting disease progression. These findings constitute the first definition of an intrinsic nephron precursor population, with major potential for cell-based therapeutic strategies and modelling of kidney disease.
Project description:When assembling a nephron during development a multipotent stem cell pool becomes restricted as differentiation ensues. A faulty differentiation arrest in this process leads to transformation and initiation of a Wilms' tumor. Mapping these transitions with respective surface markers affords accessibility to specific cell subpopulations. NCAM1 and CD133 have been previously suggested to mark human renal progenitor populations. Herein, using cell sorting, RNA sequencing, in vitro studies with serum-free media and in vivo xenotransplantation we demonstrate a sequential map that links human kidney development and tumorigenesis; In nephrogenesis, NCAM1(+)CD133(-) marks SIX2(+) multipotent renal stem cells transiting to NCAM1(+)CD133(+) differentiating segment-specific SIX2(-) epithelial progenitors and NCAM1(-)CD133(+) differentiated nephron cells. In tumorigenesis, NCAM1(+)CD133(-) marks SIX2(+) blastema that includes the ALDH1(+) WT cancer stem/initiating cells, while NCAM1(+)CD133(+) and NCAM1(-)CD133(+) specifying early and late epithelial differentiation, are severely restricted in tumor initiation capacity and tumor self-renewal. Thus, negative selection for CD133 is required for defining NCAM1(+) nephron stem cells in normal and malignant nephrogenesis.
Project description:The balance between nephron progenitor cell (NPC) renewal, survival and differentiation ultimately determines nephron endowment and thus susceptibile to chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Embryos lacking the p53-E3 ubiquitin ligase, Murine double minute 2 (Mdm2), die secondary to p53-mediated apoptosis and growth arrest, demonstrating the absolute requirement of Mdm2 in embryogenesis. Although Mdm2 is required in the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells, its role in renewal and differentiation of stem/progenitor cells during kidney organogenesis is not well defined. Here we examine the role of the Mdm2-p53 pathway in NPC renewal and fate in mice. The Six2-GFP::Cre(tg/+) mediated inactivation of Mdm2 in the NPC (NPC(Mdm)2(-/-)) results in perinatal lethality. NPC(Mdm)2(-/-) neonates have hypo-dysplastic kidneys, patchy depletion of the nephrogenic zone and pockets of superficially placed, ectopic, well-differentiated proximal tubules. NPC(Mdm2-/-) metanephroi exhibit thinning of the progenitor GFP(+)/Six2(+) population and a marked reduction or loss of progenitor markers Amphiphysin, Cited1, Sall1 and Pax2. This is accompanied by aberrant accumulation of phospho-?H2AX and p53, and elevated apoptosis together with reduced cell proliferation. E13.5-E15.5 NPC(Mdm2-/-) kidneys show reduced expression of Eya1, Pax2 and Bmp7 while the few surviving nephron precursors maintain expression of Wnt4, Lhx1, Pax2, and Pax8. Lineage fate analysis and section immunofluorescence revealed that NPC(Mdm2-/-) kidneys have severely reduced renal parenchyma embedded in an expanded stroma. Six2-GFP::Cre(tg/+); Mdm2(f/f) mice bred into a p53 null background ensures survival of the GFP-positive, self-renewing progenitor mesenchyme and therefore restores normal renal development and postnatal survival of mice. In conclusion, the Mdm2-p53 pathway is essential to the maintenance of the nephron progenitor niche.
Project description:DLG1 (discs-large homolog 1) and CASK (calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase) interact at membrane-cytoskeleton interfaces and function as scaffolding proteins that link signaling molecules, receptors, and other scaffolding proteins at intercellular and synaptic junctions. Dlg1-null mice exhibit hydronephrosis, hydroureter, and occasionally hypoplastic kidneys, whereas Cask-null mice do not. To investigate whether DLG1 and CASK cooperate in the developing urogenital system, we generated mice deficient in both DLG1 and CASK either 1) globally, 2) in metanephric mesenchyme, or 3) in nephron progenitors. With each approach, Dlg1;Cask double-knockout (DKO) kidneys were severely hypoplastic and dysplastic and demonstrated rapid, premature depletion of nephron progenitors/stem cells. Several cellular and molecular defects were observed in the DKO kidneys, including reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis of cells in the nephrogenic zone and a progressive decrease in the number of cells expressing SIX2, a transcription factor essential for maintaining nephron progenitors. Fgf8 expression was reduced in early-stage DKO metanephric mesenchyme, accompanied by reduced levels of components of the Ras pathway, which is activated by fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling. Moreover, Dlg1(+/-);Cask(-/-) (het/null) kidneys were moderately hypoplastic and demonstrated impaired aggregation of SIX2-positive cells around the ureteric bud tips. Nephron progenitor-specific het/null mice survived with small kidneys but developed glomerulocystic kidney disease and renal failure. Taken together, these results suggest that DLG1 and CASK play critical cooperative roles in maintaining the nephron progenitor population, potentially via a mechanism involving effects on FGF signaling.
Project description:An open question remains in cancer stem cell (CSC) biology whether CSCs are by definition at the top of the differentiation hierarchy of the tumor. Wilms' tumor (WT), composed of blastema and differentiated renal elements resembling the nephrogenic zone of the developing kidney, is a valuable model for studying this question because early kidney differentiation is well characterized. WT neural cell adhesion molecule 1-positive (NCAM1(+)) aldehyde dehydrogenase 1-positive (ALDH1(+)) CSCs have been recently isolated and shown to harbor early renal progenitor traits. Herein, by generating pure blastema WT xenografts, composed solely of cells expressing the renal developmental markers SIX2 and NCAM1, we surprisingly show that sorted ALDH1(+) WT CSCs do not correspond to earliest renal stem cells. Rather, gene expression and proteomic comparative analyses disclose a cell type skewed more toward epithelial differentiation than the bulk of the blastema. Thus, WT CSCs are likely to dedifferentiate to propagate WT blastema.
Project description:Loss of kidney function underlies many renal diseases. Mammals can partly repair their nephrons (the functional units of the kidney), but cannot form new ones. By contrast, fish add nephrons throughout their lifespan and regenerate nephrons de novo after injury, providing a model for understanding how mammalian renal regeneration may be therapeutically activated. Here we trace the source of new nephrons in the adult zebrafish to small cellular aggregates containing nephron progenitors. Transplantation of single aggregates comprising 10-30 cells is sufficient to engraft adults and generate multiple nephrons. Serial transplantation experiments to test self-renewal revealed that nephron progenitors are long-lived and possess significant replicative potential, consistent with stem-cell activity. Transplantation of mixed nephron progenitors tagged with either green or red fluorescent proteins yielded some mosaic nephrons, indicating that multiple nephron progenitors contribute to a single nephron. Consistent with this, live imaging of nephron formation in transparent larvae showed that nephrogenic aggregates form by the coalescence of multiple cells and then differentiate into nephrons. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the zebrafish kidney probably contains self-renewing nephron stem/progenitor cells. The identification of these cells paves the way to isolating or engineering the equivalent cells in mammals and developing novel renal regenerative therapies.
Project description:A normal endowment of nephrons in the mammalian kidney requires a balance of nephron progenitor self-renewal and differentiation throughout development. Here, we provide evidence for a novel action of ureteric branch tip-derived Wnt11 in progenitor cell organization and interactions within the nephrogenic niche, ultimately determining nephron endowment. In Wnt11 mutants, nephron progenitors dispersed from their restricted niche, intermixing with interstitial progenitors. Nephron progenitor differentiation was accelerated, kidneys were significantly smaller, and the nephron progenitor pool was prematurely exhausted, halving the final nephron count. Interestingly, RNA-seq revealed no significant differences in gene expression. Live imaging of nephron progenitors showed that in the absence of Wnt11 they lose stable attachments to the ureteric branch tips, continuously detaching and reattaching. Further, the polarized distribution of several markers within nephron progenitors is disrupted. Together these data highlight the importance of Wnt11 signaling in directing nephron progenitor behavior which determines a normal nephrogenic program.
Project description:When assembling a nephron during development a multipotent stem cell pool becomes restricted as differentiation ensues. A faulty differentiation arrest in this process leads to transformation and initiation of a Wilms' tumor. Mapping these transitions with respective surface markers affords accessibility to specific cell subpopulations. NCAM1 and CD133 have been previously suggested to mark human renal progenitor populations. Herein, using cell sorting, RNA sequencing, in vitro studies with serum-free media and in vivo xenotransplantation we demonstrate a sequential map that links human kidney development and tumorigenesis; In nephrogenesis, NCAM1+CD133- marks SIX2+ multipotent renal stem cells transiting to NCAM1+CD133+ differentiating segment-specific SIX2- epithelial progenitors and NCAM1-CD133+ differentiated nephron cells. In tumorigenesis, NCAM1+CD133- marks SIX2+ blastema that includes the ALDH1+ WT cancer stem/initiating cells, while NCAM1+CD133+ and NCAM1-CD133+ specifying early and late epithelial differentiation, are severely restricted in tumor initiation capacity and tumor self-renewal. Thus, negative selection for CD133 is required for defining NCAM1+ nephron stem cells in normal and malignant nephrogenesis. Human fetal kidney mRNA profiles of 3 cell populations (NCAM1+/CD133-, NCAM+/CD133+, NCAM-/CD133+) were generated by deep sequencing using Illumina HiSeq.
Project description:Epigenetic regulation of gene expression has a crucial role allowing for the self-renewal and differentiation of stem and progenitor populations during organogenesis. The mammalian kidney maintains a population of self-renewing stem cells that differentiate to give rise to thousands of nephrons, which are the functional units that carry out filtration to maintain physiological homeostasis. The polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) epigenetically represses gene expression during development by placing the H3K27me3 mark on histone H3 at promoter and enhancer sites, resulting in gene silencing. To understand the role of PRC2 in nephron differentiation, we conditionally inactivated the Eed gene, which encodes a nonredundant component of the PRC2 complex, in nephron progenitor cells. Resultant kidneys were smaller and showed premature loss of progenitor cells. The progenitors in Eed mutant mice that were induced to differentiate did not develop into properly formed nephrons. Lhx1, normally expressed in the renal vesicle, was overexpressed in kidneys of Eed mutant mice. Thus, PRC2 has a crucial role in suppressing the expression of genes that maintain the progenitor state, allowing nephron differentiation to proceed.
Project description:The final nephron number in an adult kidney is regulated by nephron progenitor cell availability and collecting duct branching in the fetal period. Fetal environmental perturbations that cause reductions in cell numbers in these two compartments result in low nephron endowment. Previous work has shown that maternal dietary factors influence nephron progenitor cell availability, with both caloric restriction and protein deprivation leading to reduced cell numbers through apoptosis. In this study, we evaluate the consequences of inducing nephron progenitor cell death on progenitor niche dynamics and on nephron endowment. Depletion of approximately 40% of nephron progenitor cells by expression of diphtheria toxin A at embryonic day 15 in the mouse results in 10-20% nephron reduction in the neonatal period. Analysis of cell numbers within the progenitor cell pool following induction of apoptosis reveals a compensatory response in which surviving progenitor cells increase their proliferation and replenish the niche. The proliferative response is temporally associated with infiltration of macrophages into the nephrogenic zone. Colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) has a mitogenic effect on nephron progenitor cells, providing a potential explanation for the compensatory proliferation. However, CSF1 also promotes interstitial cell proliferation, and the compensatory response is associated with interstitial expansion in recovering kidneys which can be pharmacologically inhibited by treatment with clodronate liposomes. Our findings suggest that the fetal kidney employs a macrophage-dependent compensatory regenerative mechanism to respond to acute injury caused by death of nephron progenitor cells, but that this regenerative response is associated with neonatal interstitial expansion.
Project description:Renal hypoplasia is a common cause of pediatric renal failure and several adult-onset diseases. Recent studies have associated a variant of the OSR1 gene with reduction of newborn kidney size and function in heterozygotes and neonatal lethality with kidney defects in homozygotes. How OSR1 regulates kidney development and nephron endowment is not well understood, however. In this study, by using the recently developed CRISPR genome editing technology, we genetically labeled the endogenous Osr1 protein and show that Osr1 interacts with Wt1 in the developing kidney. Whereas mice heterozygous for either an Osr1 or Wt1 null allele have normal kidneys at birth, most mice heterozygous for both Osr1 and Wt1 exhibit defects in metanephric kidney development, including unilateral or bilateral kidney agenesis or hypoplasia. The developmental defects in the Osr1+/-Wt1+/- mouse embryos were detected as early as E10.5, during specification of the metanephric mesenchyme, with the Osr1+/-Wt1+/- mouse embryos exhibiting significantly reduced Pax2-positive and Six2-positive nephron progenitor cells. Moreover, expression of Gdnf, the major nephrogenic signal for inducing ureteric bud outgrowth, was significantly reduced in the metanephric mesenchyme in Osr1+/-Wt1+/- embryos in comparison with the Osr1+/- or Wt1+/- littermates. By E11.5, as the ureteric buds invade the metanephric mesenchyme and initiate branching morphogenesis, kidney morphogenesis was significantly impaired in the Osr1+/-Wt1+/- embryos in comparison with the Osr1+/- or Wt1+/- embryos. These results indicate that Osr1 and Wt1 act synergistically to regulate nephron endowment by controlling metanephric mesenchyme specification during early nephrogenesis.