Lin28 and let-7 regulate the timing of cessation of murine nephrogenesis.
ABSTRACT: In humans and in mice the formation of nephrons during embryonic development reaches completion near the end of gestation, after which no new nephrons are formed. The final nephron complement can vary 10-fold, with reduced nephron number predisposing individuals to hypertension, renal, and cardiovascular diseases in later life. While the heterochronic genes lin28 and let-7 are well-established regulators of developmental timing in invertebrates, their role in mammalian organogenesis is not fully understood. Here we report that the Lin28b/let-7 axis controls the duration of kidney development in mice. Suppression of let-7 miRNAs, directly or via the transient overexpression of LIN28B, can prolong nephrogenesis and enhance kidney function potentially via upregulation of the Igf2/H19 locus. In contrast, kidney-specific loss of Lin28b impairs renal development. Our study reveals mechanisms regulating persistence of nephrogenic mesenchyme and provides a rationale for therapies aimed at increasing nephron mass.
Project description:Mammalian nephrons arise from a limited nephron progenitor pool through a reiterative inductive process extending over days (mouse) or weeks (human) of kidney development. Here, we present evidence that human nephron patterning reflects a time-dependent process of recruitment of mesenchymal progenitors into an epithelial nephron precursor. Progressive recruitment predicted from high-resolution image analysis and three-dimensional reconstruction of human nephrogenesis was confirmed through direct visualization and cell fate analysis of mouse kidney organ cultures. Single-cell RNA sequencing of the human nephrogenic niche provided molecular insights into these early patterning processes and predicted developmental trajectories adopted by nephron progenitor cells in forming segment-specific domains of the human nephron. The temporal-recruitment model for nephron polarity and patterning suggested by direct analysis of human kidney development provides a framework for integrating signaling pathways driving mammalian nephrogenesis.
Project description:Nephrogenesis concludes by the 36th week of gestation in humans and by the third day of postnatal life in mice. Extending the nephrogenic period may reduce the onset of adult renal and cardiovascular disease associated with low nephron numbers. We conditionally deleted either Mtor or Tsc1 (coding for hamartin, an inhibitor of Mtor) in renal progenitor cells. Loss of one Mtor allele caused a reduction in nephron numbers; complete deletion led to severe paucity of glomeruli in the kidney resulting in early death after birth. By contrast, loss of one Tsc1 allele from renal progenitors resulted in a 25% increase in nephron endowment with no adverse effects. Increased progenitor engraftment rates ex vivo relative to controls correlated with prolonged nephrogenesis through the fourth postnatal day. Complete loss of both Tsc1 alleles in renal progenitors led to a lethal tubular lesion. The hamartin phenotypes are not dependent on the inhibitory effect of TSC on the Mtor complex but are dependent on Raptor.
Project description:Nephron number in the mammalian kidney is known to vary dramatically, with postnatal renal function directly influenced by nephron complement. What determines final nephron number is poorly understood but nephron formation in the mouse kidney ceases within the first few days after birth, presumably due to the loss of all remaining nephron progenitors via epithelial differentiation. What initiates this event is not known. Indeed, whether nephron formation occurs in the same way at this time as during embryonic development has also not been examined. In this study, we investigate the key cellular compartments involved in nephron formation; the ureteric tip, cap mesenchyme and early nephrons; from postnatal day (P) 0 to 6 in the mouse. High resolution analyses of gene and protein expression indicate that loss of nephron progenitors precedes loss of ureteric tip identity, but show spatial shifts in the expression of cap mesenchyme genes during this time. In addition, cap mesenchymal volume and rate of proliferation decline prior to birth. Section-based 3D modeling and Optical Projection Tomography revealed a burst of ectopic nephron induction, with the formation of multiple (up to 5) nephrons per ureteric tip evident from P2. While the distal-proximal patterning of these nephrons occurred normally, their spatial relationship with the ureteric compartment was altered. We propose that this phase of nephron formation represents an acceleration of differentiation within the cap mesenchyme due to a displacement of signals within the nephrogenic niche.
Project description:New nephron formation (nephrogenesis) ceases in mammals around birth and is completely absent in adults. In contrast, postembryonic nephrogenesis is well documented in the mesonephric kidneys of fishes and amphibians. The transient mesonephros in reptiles (including birds) and mammals is replaced by the metanephros during embryogenesis. Thus, one may speculate that postembryonic nephrogenesis is restricted to the mesonephric kidney. Previous reports have suggested the metanephros of non-avian reptiles (hereafter reptiles) may continually form nephrons throughout life. We investigated the presence of adult nephrogenesis in reptiles by examining adult kidneys from several species including Trachemys scripta, Chrysemys picta, Boa constrictor, Tupinambis tegu, Anolis carolinensis, and Alligator mississipiensis among others. We found that all major reptilian groups (Testudines, Crocodylia, and Squamates) showed the presence of adult nephrogenesis. The total amount of nephrogenesis varied greatly between species with turtles displaying the highest density of nephrogenesis. In contrast, we were unable to detect adult nephrogenesis in monotremes, and in the iguanid A. carolinensis. Nephron progenitor cells express the transcription factor Six2, which in mammals, becomes downregulated as the progenitor cell population is exhausted and nephrogenesis ends. Using the alligator as a model, we were able to detect Six2-positive cap mesenchyme cells in the adult kidney, which spatially correlated with areas of nephrogenesis. These results suggest that the metanephric kidney of reptiles has maintained the ability to continually grow new nephrons during postembryonic life, a process lost early in mammalian evolution, likely due to the persistence of a Six2-expressing progenitor cell population.
Project description:Wilms Tumor, the most common pediatric kidney cancer, evolves from the failure of terminal differentiation of the embryonic kidney. Here we show that overexpression of the heterochronic regulator Lin28 during kidney development in mice markedly expands nephrogenic progenitors by blocking their final wave of differentiation, ultimately resulting in a pathology highly reminiscent of Wilms tumor. Using lineage-specific promoters to target Lin28 to specific cell types, we observed Wilms tumor only when Lin28 is aberrantly expressed in multiple derivatives of the intermediate mesoderm, implicating the cell of origin as a multipotential renal progenitor. We show that withdrawal of Lin28 expression reverts tumorigenesis and markedly expands the numbers of glomerulus-like structures and that tumor formation is suppressed by enforced expression of Let-7 microRNA. Finally, we demonstrate overexpression of the LIN28B paralog in a significant percentage of human Wilms tumor. Our data thus implicate the Lin28/Let-7 pathway in kidney development and tumorigenesis.
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:Neonatal nephron loss may follow hypoxic-ischemic events or nephrotoxic medications. Its long-term effects on the kidney are still unclear. Unlike term infants, preterm neonates less than 36 weeks gestational age show ongoing nephrogenesis. We hypothesized that nephron loss during nephrogenesis leads to more severe renal sequelae than nephron loss shortly after the completion of nephrogenesis. Rats show nephrogenesis until day 10 of life resembling the situation of preterm infants. Animals were uninephrectomized at day 1 (UNX d1) resulting in nephron reduction during nephrogenesis and at day 14 of life (UNX d14) inducing nephron loss after the completion of nephrogenesis. 28 days after uninephrectomy the compensatory renal growth was higher in UNX d1 compared to UNX d14. Nephrin was reduced and collagen deposition increased in UNX d1. At 1 year of age, glomerulosclerosis and markers of tubulointerstitial damage were most prevalent in UNX d1. Moreover, the number of desmin-positive podocytes was higher and nephrin was reduced in UNX d1 indicating podocyte damage. Infiltration of inflammatory cells was heightened after UNX d1. Uninephrectomized animals showed no arterial hypertension. We conclude that neonatal nephron loss during active nephrogenesis leads to more severe glomerular and tubulointerstitial damage, which is not a consequence of compensatory arterial hypertension.
Project description:The kidney is comprised of nephrons - epithelial tubes with specialized segments that reabsorb and secrete solutes, perform osmoregulation, and produce urine. Different nephron segments exhibit unique combinations of ion channels, transporter proteins, and cell junction proteins that govern permeability between neighboring cells. The zebrafish pronephros is a valuable model to study the mechanisms of vertebrate nephrogenesis, but many basic features of segment gene expression in renal progenitors and mature nephrons have not been characterized. Here, we analyzed the temporal and spatial expression pattern of tight junction components during zebrafish kidney ontogeny. During nephrogenesis, renal progenitors show discrete expression domains of claudin (cldn) 15a, cldn8, occludin (ocln) a, oclnb, tight junction protein (tjp) 2a, tjp2b, and tjp3. Interestingly, transcripts encoding these genes exhibit dynamic spatiotemporal domains during the time when pronephros segment domains are established. These data provide a useful gene expression map of cell junction components during zebrafish nephrogenesis. As such, this information complements the existing molecular map of nephron segment characteristics, and can be used to characterize kidney development mutants as well as various disease models, in addition to aiding in the elucidation of mechanisms governing epithelial regeneration after acute nephron injury.
Project description:The neonatal mouse kidney retains nephron progenitor cells in a nephrogenic zone for 3 days after birth. We evaluated whether de novo nephrogenesis can be induced postnatally beyond 3 days. Given the long-term implications of nephron number for kidney health, it would be useful to enhance nephrogenesis in the neonate. We induced nephron reduction by cryoinjury with or without contralateral nephrectomy during the neonatal period or after 1 week of age. There was no detectable compensatory de novo nephrogenesis, as determined by glomerular counting and lineage tracing. Contralateral nephrectomy resulted in additional adaptive healing, with little or no fibrosis, but did not also stimulate de novo nephrogenesis. In contrast, injury initiated at 1 week of age led to healing with fibrosis. Thus, despite the presence of progenitor cells and ongoing nephron maturation in the newborn mouse kidney, de novo nephrogenesis is not inducible by acute nephron reduction. This indicates that additional nephron progenitors cannot be recruited after birth despite partial renal ablation providing a reparative stimulus and suggests that nephron number in the mouse is predetermined at birth.
Project description:The kidney is a complex organ that is comprised of thousands of nephrons developing through reciprocal inductive interactions between metanephric mesenchyme (MM) and ureteric bud (UB). The MM undergoes mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) in response to the signaling from the UB. The secreted protein Wnt4, one of the Wnt family members, is critical for nephrogenesis as mouse Wnt4-/- mutants fail to form pretubular aggregates (PTA) and therefore lack functional nephrons. Here, we generated mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) line lacking Wnt4 by applying the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated systems 9 (Cas9). We describe here, differentiation of the wild type and Wnt4 knockout mESCs into kidney progenitors, and such cells induced to undergo nephrogenesis by the mouse E11.5 UB mediated induction. The wild type three-dimensional (3D) self-organized organoids depict appropriately segmented nephron structures, while the Wnt4-deficient organoids fail to undergo the MET, as is the case in the phenotype of the Wnt4 knockout mouse model in vivo. In summary, we have established a platform that combine CRISPR/Cas9 and kidney organoid technologies to model kidney development in vitro and confirmed that mutant organoids are able to present similar actions as in the in vivo studies.