Luminal mitosis drives epithelial cell dispersal within the branching ureteric bud.
ABSTRACT: The ureteric bud is an epithelial tube that undergoes branching morphogenesis to form the renal collecting system. Although development of a normal kidney depends on proper ureteric bud morphogenesis, the cellular events underlying this process remain obscure. Here, we used time-lapse microscopy together with several genetic labeling methods to observe ureteric bud cell behaviors in developing mouse kidneys. We observed an unexpected cell behavior in the branching tips of the ureteric bud, which we term "mitosis-associated cell dispersal." Premitotic ureteric tip cells delaminate from the epithelium and divide within the lumen; although one daughter cell retains a basal process, allowing it to reinsert into the epithelium at the site of origin, the other daughter cell reinserts at a position one to three cell diameters away. Given the high rate of cell division in ureteric tips, this cellular behavior causes extensive epithelial cell rearrangements that may contribute to renal branching morphogenesis.
Project description:Branching morphogenesis of the epithelial ureteric bud forms the renal collecting duct system and is critical for normal nephron number, while low nephron number is implicated in hypertension and renal disease. Ureteric bud growth and branching requires GDNF signaling from the surrounding mesenchyme to cells at the ureteric bud tips, via the Ret receptor tyrosine kinase and coreceptor Gfr?1; Ret signaling up-regulates transcription factors Etv4 and Etv5, which are also critical for branching. Despite extensive knowledge of the genetic control of these events, it is not understood, at the cellular level, how renal branching morphogenesis is achieved or how Ret signaling influences epithelial cell behaviors to promote this process. Analysis of chimeric embryos previously suggested a role for Ret signaling in promoting cell rearrangements in the nephric duct, but this method was unsuited to study individual cell behaviors during ureteric bud branching. Here, we use Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers (MADM), combined with organ culture and time-lapse imaging, to trace the movements and divisions of individual ureteric bud tip cells. We first examine wild-type clones and then Ret or Etv4 mutant/wild-type clones in which the mutant and wild-type sister cells are differentially and heritably marked by green and red fluorescent proteins. We find that, in normal kidneys, most individual tip cells behave as self-renewing progenitors, some of whose progeny remain at the tips while others populate the growing UB trunks. In Ret or Etv4 MADM clones, the wild-type cells generated at a UB tip are much more likely to remain at, or move to, the new tips during branching and elongation, while their Ret-/- or Etv4-/- sister cells tend to lag behind and contribute only to the trunks. By tracking successive mitoses in a cell lineage, we find that Ret signaling has little effect on proliferation, in contrast to its effects on cell movement. Our results show that Ret/Etv4 signaling promotes directed cell movements in the ureteric bud tips, and suggest a model in which these cell movements mediate branching morphogenesis.
Project description:While the genetic control of renal branching morphogenesis has been extensively described, the cellular basis of this process remains obscure. GDNF/RET signaling is required for ureter and kidney development, and cells lacking Ret are excluded from the tips of the branching ureteric bud in chimeric kidneys. Here, we find that this exclusion results from earlier Ret-dependent cell rearrangements in the caudal Wolffian duct, which generate a specialized epithelial domain that later emerges as the tip of the primary ureteric bud. By juxtaposing cells with elevated or reduced RET activity, we find that Wolffian duct cells compete, based on RET signaling levels, to contribute to this domain. At the same time, the caudal Wolffian duct transiently converts from a simple to a pseudostratified epithelium, a process that does not require Ret. Thus, both Ret-dependent cell movements and Ret-independent changes in the Wolffian duct epithelium contribute to ureteric bud formation.
Project description:Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor signaling through the Ret receptor tyrosine kinase is crucial for ureteric bud branching morphogenesis during kidney development, yet few of the downstream genes are known. Here we show that the ETS transcription factors Etv4 and Etv5 are positively regulated by Ret signaling in the ureteric bud tips. Mice lacking both Etv4 alleles and one Etv5 allele show either renal agenesis or severe hypodysplasia, whereas kidney development fails completely in double homozygotes. We identified several genes whose expression in the ureteric bud depends on Etv4 and Etv5, including Cxcr4, Myb, Met and Mmp14. Thus, Etv4 and Etv5 are key components of a gene network downstream of Ret that promotes and controls renal branching morphogenesis.
Project description:Fibroblast growth receptors (FGFRs) consist of four signaling family members. Mice with deletions of fgfr1 or fgfr2 are embryonic lethal prior to the onset of kidney development. To determine roles of FGFR1 and FGFR2 in the ureteric bud, we used a conditional targeting approach. First, we generated transgenic mice using the Hoxb7 promoter to drive cre recombinase and green fluorescent protein expression throughout ureteric bud tissue. We crossed Hoxb7creEGFP mice with mice carrying lox-p sites flanking critical regions of fgfr1 and/or fgfr2. Absence of fgfr1 from the ureteric bud (fgfr1(UB-/-)) results in no apparent renal abnormalities. In contrast, fgfr2(UB-/-) mice have very aberrant ureteric bud branching, thin ureteric bud stalks, and fewer ureteric bud tips. Fgfr2(UB-/-) ureteric bud tips also demonstrate inappropriate regions of apoptosis and reduced proliferation. The nephrogenic mesenchymal lineage in fgfr2(UB-/-) mice develops normal-appearing glomeruli and tubules, and only slightly fewer nephrons than controls. In contrast, fgfr2(UB-/-) kidneys have abnormally thickened subcapsular cortical stromal mesenchyme. Ultimately, fgfr2(UB-/-) adult kidneys are small and abnormally shaped or are hydronephrotic. Finally, there are no additional abnormalities in the fgfr1/2(UB-/-) kidneys versus the fgfr2(UB-/-) kidneys. In conclusion, FGFR2, but not FGFR1, appears crucial for ureteric bud branching morphogenesis and stromal mesenchyme patterning.
Project description:The adult mammalian kidney has a complex, highly-branched collecting duct epithelium that arises as a ureteric bud sidebranch from an epithelial tube known as the nephric duct. Subsequent branching of the ureteric bud to form the collecting duct tree is regulated by subcellular interactions between the epithelium and a population of mesenchymal cells that surround the tips of outgrowing branches. The mesenchymal cells produce glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), that binds with RET receptors on the surface of the epithelial cells to stimulate several subcellular pathways in the epithelium. Such interactions are known to be a prerequisite for normal branching development, although competing theories exist for their role in morphogenesis. Here we introduce the first agent-based model of ex vivo kidney uretic branching. Through comparison with experimental data, we show that growth factor-regulated growth mechanisms can explain early epithelial cell branching, but only if epithelial cell division depends in a switch-like way on the local growth factor concentration; cell division occurring only if the driving growth factor level exceeds a threshold. We also show how a recently-developed method, "Approximate Approximate Bayesian Computation", can be used to infer key model parameters, and reveal the dependency between the parameters controlling a growth factor-dependent growth switch. These results are consistent with a requirement for signals controlling proliferation and chemotaxis, both of which are previously identified roles for GDNF.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a large and growing class of small, non-coding, regulatory RNAs that control gene expression predominantly at the post-transcriptional level. The production of most functional miRNAs depends on the enzymatic activity of Dicer, an RNase III class enzyme. To address the potential action of Dicer-dependent miRNAs in mammalian kidney development, we conditionally ablated Dicer function within cells of nephron lineage and the ureteric bud-derived collecting duct system. Six2Cre-mediated removal of Dicer activity from the progenitors of the nephron epithelium led to elevated apoptosis and premature termination of nephrogenesis. Thus, Dicer action is important for maintaining the viability of this critical self-renewing progenitor pool and, consequently, development of a normal nephron complement. HoxB7Cre-mediated removal of Dicer function from the ureteric bud epithelium led to the development of renal cysts. This was preceded by excessive cell proliferation and apoptosis, and accompanied by disrupted ciliogenesis within the ureteric bud epithelium. Dicer removal also disrupted branching morphogenesis with the phenotype correlating with downregulation of Wnt11 and c-Ret expression at ureteric tips. Thus Dicer, and by inference Dicer-dependent miRNA activity, have distinct regulatory roles within different components of the developing mouse kidney. Furthermore, an understanding of miRNA action may provide new insights into the etiology and pathogenesis of renal cyst-based kidney disease.
Project description:TROP2, a cell surface protein structurally related to EpCAM, is expressed in various carcinomas, though its function remains largely unknown. We examined the expression of TROP2 and EpCAM in fetal mouse tissues, and found distinct patterns in the ureteric bud of the fetal kidney, which forms a tree-like structure. The tip cells in the ureteric bud proliferate to form branches, whereas the trunk cells differentiate to form a polarized ductal structure. EpCAM was expressed throughout the ureteric bud, whereas TROP2 expression was strongest at the trunk but diminished towards the tips, indicating the distinct cell populations in the ureteric bud. The cells highly expressing TROP2 (TROP2(high)) were negative for Ki67, a proliferating cell marker, and TROP2 and collagen-I were co-localized to the basal membrane of the trunk cells. TROP2(high) cells isolated from the fetal kidney failed to attach and spread on collagen-coated plates. Using MDCK cells, a well-established model for studying the branching morphogenesis of the ureteric bud, TROP2 was shown to inhibit cell spreading and motility on collagen-coated plates, and also branching in collagen-gel cultures, which mimic the ureteric bud's microenvironment. These results together suggest that TROP2 modulates the interaction between the cells and matrix and regulates the formation of the ureteric duct by suppressing branching from the trunk during kidney development.
Project description:Current techniques to morphologically characterize the processes of nephrogenesis and ureteric branching during kidney development have many limitations. Here, we used in vivo three-dimensional analysis to study renal development in mice lacking fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 in the ureteric bud (Fgfr2(UB-/-)) and in littermate controls. We found that Fgfr2(UB-/-) mice have more severe defects in ureteric branching morphogenesis than previously reported, including significantly fewer branches and tips than control mice. Furthermore, these mice had decreased ureteric volume and surface area and longer ureteric segments than control mice. We also observed previously unrecognized abnormalities in nephrogenesis, including a gradual increase in volume and surface area during maturation from renal vesicles to mature nephrons, in the mutant mice. Finally, we quantified many events of normal renal development that are either difficult or impossible to measure without this three-dimensional technique. In summary, the three-dimensional approach is a powerful and quantitative means to characterize branching morphogenesis and nephrogenesis.
Project description:Class 3 semaphorins are guidance proteins involved in axon pathfinding, vascular patterning and lung branching morphogenesis in the developing mouse embryo. Semaphorin3a (Sema3a) is expressed in renal epithelia throughout kidney development, including podocytes and ureteric bud cells. However, the role of Sema3a in ureteric bud branching is unknown. Here we demonstrate that Sema3a plays a role in patterning the ureteric bud tree in both metanephric organ cultures and Sema3a mutant mice. In vitro ureteric bud injection with Sema3a antisense morpholino resulted in increased branching, whereas recombinant SEMA3A inhibited ureteric bud branching and decreased the number of developing glomeruli. Additional studies revealed that SEMA3A effects on ureteric bud branching involve downregulation of glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) signaling, competition with vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and decreased activity of Akt survival pathways. Deletion of Sema3a in mice is associated with increased ureteric bud branching, confirming its inhibitory role in vivo. Collectively, these data suggest that Sema3a is an endogenous antagonist of ureteric bud branching and hence, plays a role in patterning the renal collecting system as a negative regulator.
Project description:Adamts18 encodes a secreted metalloprotease restricted to branch-tip progenitor pools directing the morphogenesis of multiple mammalian organs. Adamts18 was targeted to explore a potential role in branching morphogenesis. In the kidney, an arborized collecting system develops through extensive branching morphogenesis of an initial epithelial outgrowth of the mesonephric duct, the ureteric bud. Adamts18 mutants displayed a weakly penetrant phenotype: duplicated ureteric outgrowths forming enlarged, bi-lobed kidneys with an increased nephron endowment. In contrast, Adamts18 mutants showed a fully penetrant lung phenotype: epithelial growth was markedly reduced and early secondary branching scaled to the reduced length of the primary airways. Furthermore, there was a pronounced delay in the appearance of differentiated cell types in both proximal and distally positions of the developing airways. Adamts18 is closely related to Adamts16. In the kidney but not the lung, broad epithelial Adamts16 expression overlaps Adamts18 in branch tips. However, compound Adamts16/18 mutants displayed a comparable low penetrance duplicated ureteric phenotype, ruling out a possible role for Adamts16 as a functional modifier of the Adamts18 kidney phenotype. Given the predicted action of secreted Adamts18 metalloprotease, and broad expression of Adamts18 in branching organ systems, these findings suggest distinct requirements for matrix modelling in the morphogenesis of epithelial networks.