FAT4 Fine-Tunes Kidney Development by Regulating RET Signaling.
ABSTRACT: 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: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:The atypical cadherin FAT4 has established roles in the regulation of planar cell polarity and Hippo pathway signaling that are cell context dependent. The recent identification of FAT4 mutations in Hennekam syndrome, features of which include lymphedema, lymphangiectasia, and mental retardation, uncovered an important role for FAT4 in the lymphatic vasculature. Hennekam syndrome is also caused by mutations in collagen and calcium binding EGF domains 1 (CCBE1) and ADAM metallopeptidase with thrombospondin type 1 motif 3 (ADAMTS3), encoding a matrix protein and protease, respectively, that regulate activity of the key prolymphangiogenic VEGF-C/VEGFR3 signaling axis by facilitating the proteolytic cleavage and activation of VEGF-C. The fact that FAT4, CCBE1, and ADAMTS3 mutations underlie Hennekam syndrome suggested that all 3 genes might function in a common pathway. We identified FAT4 as a target gene of GATA-binding protein 2 (GATA2), a key transcriptional regulator of lymphatic vascular development and, in particular, lymphatic vessel valve development. Here, we demonstrate that FAT4 functions in a lymphatic endothelial cell-autonomous manner to control cell polarity in response to flow and is required for lymphatic vessel morphogenesis throughout development. Our data reveal a crucial role for FAT4 in lymphangiogenesis and shed light on the mechanistic basis by which FAT4 mutations underlie a human lymphedema syndrome.
Project description:The Drosophila Dachsous and Fat proteins function as ligand and receptor, respectively, for an intercellular signaling pathway that regulates Hippo signaling and planar cell polarity. Although gene-targeted mutations in two mammalian Fat genes have been described, whether mammals have a Fat signaling pathway equivalent to that in Drosophila, and what its biological functions might be, have remained unclear. Here, we describe a gene-targeted mutation in a murine Dachsous homolog, Dchs1. Analysis of the phenotypes of Dchs1 mutant mice and comparisons with Fat4 mutant mice identify requirements for these genes in multiple organs, including the ear, kidney, skeleton, intestine, heart and lung. Dchs1 and Fat4 single mutants and Dchs1 Fat4 double mutants have similar phenotypes throughout the body. In some cases, these phenotypes suggest that Dchs1-Fat4 signaling influences planar cell polarity. In addition to the appearance of cysts in newborn kidneys, we also identify and characterize a requirement for Dchs1 and Fat4 in growth, branching and cell survival during early kidney development. Dchs1 and Fat4 are predominantly expressed in mesenchymal cells in multiple organs, and mutation of either gene increases protein staining for the other. Our analysis implies that Dchs1 and Fat4 function as a ligand-receptor pair during murine development, and identifies novel requirements for Dchs1-Fat4 signaling in multiple organs.
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:Glial-cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a well-studied neuroregenerative factor; however, the degree to which it supports hair formation and skin wound repair is not known. By using a Gfra1 (GDNF family receptor alpha 1) knock-in reporter mouse line, GDNF signaling was found to occur within hair bulge stem cells (BSCs) during the initiation of the hair cycle and early stages of hair formation after depilation. Both recombinant and transgene overexpression of GDNF promoted BSC colony growth, hair formation, and skin repair after wounding through enhanced self-renewal of BSCs and commitment of BSC-derived progenitors into becoming epidermal cells at the injury site. Conditional ablation of Gfra1 among BSCs impaired the onset of the hair cycle, while conditional ablation of the GDNF family member signal transducer, Ret, within BSCs prevented the onset of the hair cycle and depilation-induced anagen development of hair follicles. Our findings reveal that GDNF promotes hair formation and wound repair and that bulge stem cells are critical mediators of both.
Project description:Formation of the kidney requires reciprocal signaling among the ureteric tubules, cap mesenchyme and surrounding stromal mesenchyme to orchestrate complex morphogenetic events. The protocadherin Fat4 influences signaling from stromal to cap mesenchyme cells to regulate their differentiation into nephrons. Here, we characterize the role of a putative binding partner of Fat4, the protocadherin Dchs1. Mutation of Dchs1 in mice leads to increased numbers of cap mesenchyme cells, which are abnormally arranged around the ureteric bud tips, and impairment of nephron morphogenesis. Mutation of Dchs1 also reduces branching of the ureteric bud and impairs differentiation of ureteric bud tip cells into trunk cells. Genetically, Dchs1 is required specifically within cap mesenchyme cells. The similarity of Dchs1 phenotypes to stromal-less kidneys and to those of Fat4 mutants implicates Dchs1 in Fat4-dependent stroma-to-cap mesenchyme signaling. Antibody staining of genetic mosaics reveals that Dchs1 protein localization is polarized within cap mesenchyme cells, where it accumulates at the interface with stromal cells, implying that it interacts directly with a stromal protein. Our observations identify a role for Fat4 and Dchs1 in signaling between cell layers, implicate Dchs1 as a Fat4 receptor for stromal signaling that is essential for kidney development, and establish that vertebrate Dchs1 can be molecularly polarized in vivo.
Project description:Regulation of the balance between progenitor self-renewal and differentiation is critical to development. In the mammalian kidney, reciprocal signaling between three lineages (stromal, mesenchymal and ureteric) ensures correct nephron progenitor self-renewal and differentiation. Loss of either the atypical cadherin Fat4 or its ligand Dachsous1 (Dchs1) results in expansion of the mesenchymal nephron progenitor pool, called the condensing mesenchyme (CM). This has been proposed to be due to misregulation of the Hippo kinase pathway transcriptional co-activator YAP. Here, we use tissue-specific deletions to prove that Fat4 acts non-autonomously in the renal stroma to control nephron progenitors. We show that loss of Yap from the CM in a Fat4-null background does not reduce the expanded CM, indicating Fat4 regulates the CM independent of YAP. Analysis of Six2-/-;Fat4-/- double mutants demonstrates that excess progenitors in Fat4 mutants are dependent on Six2, a critical regulator of nephron progenitor self-renewal. Electron microscopy reveals that cell organization is disrupted in Fat4 mutants. Gene expression analysis demonstrates that the expression of Notch and FGF pathway components are altered in Fat4 mutants. Finally, we show that Dchs1, and its paralog Dchs2 function in a partially redundant fashion to regulate the number of nephron progenitors. Our data supports a model in which FAT4 in the stroma binds to DCHS1/2 in the CM to restrict progenitor self-renewal. A total of 3 Fat4-/- mutant embryos and 3 wildtype (Fat4+/+) control embryos were examined. Two kidneys from each embryo was used thereby yielding a total of 6 Fat4-/- mutant kidneys and 6 Fat4+/+ wildype kidneys. All kidneys examined were at E13.5.
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.