Gene Expression Profiling of Glomeruli from a mouse model of Denys-Drash Syndrome
ABSTRACT: The Wilms tumor-suppressor gene WT1, a key player in renal development, also has a crucial role in maintenance of the glomerulus in the mature kidney. However, molecular pathways orchestrated by WT1 in podocytes, where it is highly expressed, remain unknown. Their defects are thought to modify the cross-talk between podocytes and other glomerular cells and ultimately lead to glomerular sclerosis, as observed in diffuse mesangial sclerosis (DMS) a nephropathy associated with WT1 mutations. To identify podocyte WT1 targets, we generated a novel DMS mouse line, performed gene expression profiling in isolated glomeruli, and identified excellent candidates that may modify podocyte differentiation and growth factor signalling in glomeruli. Scel, encoding sciellin, a protein of the cornified envelope in the skin, and sulf1, encoding a 6-O endosulfatase, are shown to be expressed in wild type podocytes and to be strongly down-regulated in mutants. Co-expression of Wt1, Scel and Sulf1 was also found in a mesonephric cell line, and siRNA-mediated knockdown of WT1 decreased Scel and Sulf1 mRNAs and proteins. By ChIP we show that Scel and Sulf1 are direct WT1 targets. Cyp26a1, encoding an enzyme involved in the degradation of retinoic acid, is shown to be up-regulated in mutant podocytes. Cyp26a1 may play a role in the development of glomerular lesions but does not seem to be regulated by WT1. These results provide novel clues in our understanding of normal glomerular function and early events involved in glomerulosclerosis. Overall design: Isolation of glomeruli from mutant (FVB-N4 Wt1+/R394W) and wild-type (FVB-N4 Wt1+/+) was performed after cardiac Dynabead perfusion. GeneChip analysis of glomeruli from 5 Wt1+/R394W mice and 5 Wt1+/+ littermates (N4-FVB) were performed independently. Animals were unweaned 27-day-old males. The Wt1+/R394W mice used were showing little albuminuria (<3 ug/ul on Coomassie blue stained SDS-PAGE gel) and no evidence of mesangial lesions by light microscopy.
Project description:The Wilms tumor-suppressor gene WT1, a key player in renal development, also has a crucial role in maintenance of the glomerulus in the mature kidney. However, molecular pathways orchestrated by WT1 in podocytes, where it is highly expressed, remain unknown. Their defects are thought to modify the cross-talk between podocytes and other glomerular cells and ultimately lead to glomerular sclerosis, as observed in diffuse mesangial sclerosis (DMS) a nephropathy associated with WT1 mutations. To identify podocyte WT1 targets, we generated a novel DMS mouse line, performed gene expression profiling in isolated glomeruli, and identified excellent candidates that may modify podocyte differentiation and growth factor signalling in glomeruli. Scel, encoding sciellin, a protein of the cornified envelope in the skin, and sulf1, encoding a 6-O endosulfatase, are shown to be expressed in wild type podocytes and to be strongly down-regulated in mutants. Co-expression of Wt1, Scel and Sulf1 was also found in a mesonephric cell line, and siRNA-mediated knockdown of WT1 decreased Scel and Sulf1 mRNAs and proteins. By ChIP we show that Scel and Sulf1 are direct WT1 targets. Cyp26a1, encoding an enzyme involved in the degradation of retinoic acid, is shown to be up-regulated in mutant podocytes. Cyp26a1 may play a role in the development of glomerular lesions but does not seem to be regulated by WT1. These results provide novel clues in our understanding of normal glomerular function and early events involved in glomerulosclerosis. Experiment Overall Design: Isolation of glomeruli from mutant (FVB-N4 Wt1+/R394W) and wild-type (FVB-N4 Wt1+/+) was performed after cardiac Dynabead perfusion. GeneChip analysis of glomeruli from 5 Wt1+/R394W mice and 5 Wt1+/+ littermates (N4-FVB) were performed independently. Animals were unweaned 27-day-old males. The Wt1+/R394W mice used were showing little albuminuria (<3 ug/ul on Coomassie blue stained SDS-PAGE gel) and no evidence of mesangial lesions by light microscopy.
Project description:Podocyte injury has been proposed to play an important role in diabetic nephropathy; however, its pathological mechanism remains unclear. We have shown that bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) signaling leads to the glomerular changes characteristic of this disorder. To analyze the molecular mechanism of podocyte injury, the effect of BMP4 was investigated using streptozotocin (STZ)-induced, Bmp4 heterozygous knockout (Bmp4+/-) and podocyte-specific Bmp4 knockout mice. Mice with STZ-induced diabetes exhibited glomerular matrix hyperplasia and decreased numbers of podocyte nucleus-specific WT1-positive cells. The number of podocytes and proteinuria were improved in both diabetic Bmp4 knockout mouse models compared to the effects observed in the control mice. The effect of BMP4 overexpression on Bmp4-induced or podocyte-specific transgenic mice was examined. Tamoxifen-induced Bmp4-overexpressing mice exhibited mesangial matrix expansion and decreased numbers of WT1-positive cells. Podocyte-specific Bmp4-overexpressing mice displayed increased kidney BMP4 expression and mesangial matrix expansion but decreased nephrin expression and numbers of WT1-positive cells. Both lines of Bmp4-overexpressing mice exhibited increased albuminuria. In cultured podocytes, BMP4 increased phospho-p38 levels. BMP4 decreased nephrin expression but increased cleaved caspase-3 levels. p38 suppression inhibited caspase-3 activation. Apoptosis was confirmed in STZ-diabetic glomeruli and Bmp4-overexpressing mice. Bmp4?+/-?mice with diabetes displayed reduced apoptosis. Based on these data, the BMP4 signaling pathway plays important roles in the development of both podocyte injury and mesangial matrix expansion in diabetic nephropathy.
Project description:There are 3 cell types in a glomerulus: podocytes, mesangial cells and endothelial cells. These cell types play distinct roles in the structure and functions of glomeruli. In order to profile the gene expression of single glomerular cells, we isolated mouse glomeruli by Dynabead/magnetic concentration method and digested them with enzymes to dissociate them into single cells. We loaded the single cell suspension to a Fluidigm C1 Single-Cell Auto Prep System for single cell cDNA preparation. We performed qPCR analyses of marker genes of podocytes (Npsh2, Synaptopodin, WT1), mesangial cells (Gata3, IGFbp5) and endothelial cells (CD31, Tie2) to determine the identity of each cDNA sample. To identify podocyte-specific genes, we mixed 15 mesangial cell cDNA samples and 15 endothelial cell cDNA samples and further divided into 3 aliquots as replicates for sequencing using Illumina HiSeq 2000 system. The resulting data are used to compare with that of podocytes in order to identify podocyte-specific genes. Overall design: A C57BL/6 male mouse was sacrificed for isolation of glomeruli. Glomeruli were dissociated into single cells, which were loaded to a Fluidigm C1 Single-Cell Auto Prep System for single cell cDNA preparation. qPCR analyses of marker genes of podocytes (Npsh2, Synaptopodin, WT1), mesangial cells (Gata3, IGFbp5) and endothelial cells (CD31, Tie2) were conducted to determine sample identities. Fifteen mesangial cells and 15 endothelial cells' cDNA samples were mixed and divided into 3 aliquots as replicates for sequencing.
Project description:Vascular endothelial growth factor, which is critical for blood vessel formation, is regulated by hypoxia inducible transcription factors (HIFs). A component of the E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) facilitates oxygen-dependent polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of HIFalpha subunits. Hypothesizing that deletion of podocyte VHL would result in HIFalpha hyperstabilization, we crossed podocin promoter-Cre transgenic mice, which express Cre recombinase in podocytes beginning at the capillary loop stage of glomerular development, with floxed VHL mice. Vascular patterning and glomerular development appeared unaltered in progeny lacking podocyte VHL. However, urinalysis showed increased albumin excretion by 4 weeks when compared with wild-type littermates with several sever cases (>1000 microg/ml). Many glomerular ultrastructural changes were seen in mutants, including focal subendothelial delamination and widespread podocyte foot process broadening, and glomerular basement membranes (GBMs) were significantly thicker in 16-week-old mutants compared with controls. Moreover, immunoelectron microscopy showed ectopic deposition of collagen alpha1alpha2alpha1(IV) in GBM humps beneath podocytes. Significant increases in the number of Ki-67-positive mesangial cells were also found, but glomerular WT1 expression was significantly decreased, signifying podocyte death and/or de-differentiation. Indeed, expression profiling of mutant glomeruli suggested a negative regulatory feedback loop involving the HIFalpha prolyl hydroxylase, Egln3. In addition, the brain oxygen-binding protein, Neuroglobin, was induced in mutant podocytes. We conclude that podocyte VHL is required for normal maintenance of podocytes, GBM composition and ultrastructure, and glomerular barrier properties.
Project description:Indoxyl sulfate is a uremic toxin and a ligand of the aryl-hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a transcriptional regulator. Elevated serum indoxyl sulfate levels may contribute to progressive kidney disease and associated vascular disease. We asked whether indoxyl sulfate injures podocytes in vivo and in vitro. Mice exposed to indoxyl sulfate for 8 w exhibited prominent tubulointerstitial lesions with vascular damage. Indoxyl sulfate-exposed mice with microalbuminuria showed ischemic changes, while more severely affected mice showed increased mesangial matrix, segmental solidification, and mesangiolysis. In normal mouse kidneys, AhR was predominantly localized to the podocyte nuclei. In mice exposed to indoxyl sulfate for 2 h, isolated glomeruli manifested increased Cyp1a1 expression, indicating AhR activation. After 8 w of indoxyl sulfate, podocytes showed foot process effacement, cytoplasmic vacuoles, and a focal granular and wrinkled pattern of podocin and synaptopodin expression. Furthermore, vimentin and AhR expression in the glomerulus was increased in the indoxyl sulfate-exposed glomeruli compared to controls. Glomerular expression of characteristic podocyte mRNAs was decreased, including Actn4, Cd2ap, Myh9, Nphs1, Nphs2, Podxl, Synpo, and Wt1. In vitro, immortalized-mouse podocytes exhibited AhR nuclear translocation beginning 30 min after 1 mM indoxyl sulfate exposure, and there was increased phospho-Rac1/Cdc42 at 2 h. After exposure to indoxyl sulfate for 24 h, mouse podocytes exhibited a pro-inflammatory phenotype, perturbed actin cytoskeleton, decreased expression of podocyte-specific genes, and decreased cell viability. In immortalized human podocytes, indoxyl sulfate treatment caused cell injury, decreased mRNA expression of podocyte-specific proteins, as well as integrins, collagens, cytoskeletal proteins, and bone morphogenetic proteins, and increased cytokine and chemokine expression. We propose that basal levels of AhR activity regulate podocyte function under normal conditions, and that increased activation of podocyte AhR by indoxyl sulfate contributes to progressive glomerular injury.
Project description:Podocyte injury is a key event for progressive renal failure. We have previously established a mouse model of inducible podocyte injury (NEP25) that progressively develops glomerulosclerosis after immunotoxin injection. We performed polysome analysis of intact and injured podocytes utilizing the NEP25 and RiboTag transgenic mice, in which a hemagglutinin tag is attached to ribosomal protein L22 selectively in podocytes. Podocyte-specific polysomes were successfully obtained by immunoprecipitation with an antihemagglutinin antibody from glomerular homogenate and analyzed using a microarray. Compared with glomerular cells, 353 genes were highly expressed and enriched in podocytes; these included important podocyte genes and also heretofore uncharacterized genes, such as Dach1 and Foxd2. Podocyte injury by immunotoxin induced many genes to be upregulated, including inflammation-related genes despite no infiltration of inflammatory cells in the glomeruli. MafF and Egr-1, which structurally have the potential to antagonize MafB and WT1, respectively, were rapidly and markedly increased in injured podocytes before MafB and WT1 were decreased. We demonstrated that Maff and Egr1 knockdown increased the MafB targets Nphs2 and Ptpro and the WT1 targets Ptpro, Nxph3, and Sulf1, respectively. This indicates that upregulated MafF and Egr-1 may promote deterioration of podocytes by antagonizing MafB and WT1. Our systematic microarray study of the heretofore undescribed behavior of podocyte genes may open new insights into the understanding of podocyte pathophysiology.
Project description:Fibrosis is a final common pathway leading to loss of kidney function, in which the fibrogenic cytokine, transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?), plays a central role. While previous studies showed that TGF-? antagonism by various means prevents fibrosis in mouse models, clinical approaches based on these findings remain elusive. 1D11 is a neutralizing antibody to all three isoforms of TGF-?. In both adriamycin (ADR)-induced nephropathy and NEP25 podocyte ablation nephropathy, thrice-weekly intraperitoneal administration of 1D11 from the day of disease induction until the mice were sacrificed (day 14 for ADR and day 28 for NEP25), significantly reduced glomerular COL1A2 mRNA accumulation and histological changes. Consistent with our previous findings, proteinuria remained overt in the mice treated with 1D11, suggesting distinct mechanisms for proteinuria and fibrogenesis. Podocyte numbers determined by WT1 staining were significantly reduced in NEP25-model glomeruli as expected, while WT1-positive cells were preserved in mice receiving 1D11. Even when 1D11 was administered after the onset of proteinuria on day 3, 1D11 preserved WT1-positive cell numbers in glomeruli and significantly reduced glomerular scar score (2.5 ± 0.2 [control IgG] vs. 1.8 ± 0.2 [1D11], P < 0.05) and glomerular COL1A2 mRNA expression (19.3 ± 4.4 [control IgG] vs. 8.4 ± 2.4 [1D11] fold increase over the healthy control, P < 0.05). Transmission electron microscopy revealed loss of podocytes and denuded glomerular basement membrane in NEP25 mice with disease, whereas podocytes remained attached to the basement membrane, though effaced and swollen, in those receiving 1D11 from day 3. Together, these data suggest that TGF-? neutralization by 1D11 prevents glomerular fibrosis even when started after the onset of proteinuria. While overt proteinuria and podocyte effacement persist, 1D11 prevents total podocytes detachment, which might be a key event activating fibrogenic events in glomeruli.
Project description:To advance our understanding of development, function and diseases in the kidney glomerulus, we have established and large-scale sequenced cDNA libraries from mouse glomeruli at different stages of development, resulting in a catalogue of 6053 different genes. The glomerular cDNA clones were arrayed and hybridized against a series of labeled targets from isolated glomeruli, non-glomerular kidney tissue, FACS-sorted podocytes and brain capillaries, which identified over 300 glomerular cell-enriched transcripts, some of which were further sublocalized to podocytes, mesangial cells and juxtaglomerular cells by in situ hybridization. For the earliest podocyte marker identified, Foxc2, knockout mice were used to analyze the role of this protein during glomerular development. We show that Foxc2 controls the expression of a distinct set of podocyte genes involved in podocyte differentiation and glomerular basement membrane maturation. The primary podocyte defects also cause abnormal differentiation and organization of the glomerular vascular cells. We surmise that studies on the other novel glomerulus-enriched transcripts identified in this study will provide new insight into glomerular development and pathomechanisms of disease.
Project description:The Wilms' tumor suppressor gene, WT1, encodes a zinc finger protein that regulates podocyte development and is highly expressed in mature podocytes. Mutations in the WT1 gene are associated with the development of renal failure due to the formation of scar tissue within glomeruli, the mechanisms of which are poorly understood. Here, we used a tamoxifen-based CRE-LoxP system to induce deletion of Wt1 in adult mice to investigate the mechanisms underlying evolution of glomerulosclerosis. Podocyte apoptosis was evident as early as the fourth day post-induction and increased during disease progression, supporting a role for Wt1 in mature podocyte survival. Podocyte Notch activation was evident at disease onset with upregulation of Notch1 and its transcriptional targets, including Nrarp. There was repression of podocyte FoxC2 and upregulation of Hey2 supporting a role for a Wt1/FoxC2/Notch transcriptional network in mature podocyte injury. The expression of cleaved Notch1 and HES1 proteins in podocytes of mutant mice was confirmed in early disease. Furthermore, induction of podocyte HES1 expression was associated with upregulation of genes implicated in epithelial mesenchymal transition, thereby suggesting that HES1 mediates podocyte EMT. Lastly, early pharmacological inhibition of Notch signaling ameliorated glomerular scarring and albuminuria. Thus, loss of Wt1 in mature podocytes modulates podocyte Notch activation, which could mediate early events in WT1-related glomerulosclerosis.
Project description:Healthy aging is typified by a progressive and absolute loss of podocytes over the lifespan of animals and humans. To test the hypothesis that a subset of glomerular parietal epithelial cell (PEC) progenitors transition to a podocyte fate with aging, dual reporter PEC-rtTA|LC1|tdTomato|Nphs1-FLPo|FRT-EGFP mice were generated. PECs were inducibly labeled with a tdTomato reporter, and podocytes were constitutively labeled with an EGFP reporter. With advancing age (14 and 24 months) glomeruli in the juxta-medullary cortex (JMC) were more severely injured than those in the outer cortex (OC). In aged mice (24m), injured glomeruli with lower podocyte number (41% decrease), showed more PEC migration and differentiation to a podocyte fate than mildly injured or healthy glomeruli. PECs differentiated to a podocyte fate had ultrastructural features of podocytes and co-expressed the podocyte markers podocin, nephrin, p57 and VEGF164, but not markers of mesangial (Perlecan) or endothelial (ERG) cells. PECs differentiated to a podocyte fate did not express CD44, a marker of PEC activation. Taken together, we demonstrate that a subpopulation of PECs differentiate to a podocyte fate predominantly in injured glomeruli in mice of advanced age.