Caenorhabditis elegans, a model organism for kidney research: from cilia to mechanosensation and longevity.
ABSTRACT The introduction of Caenorhabditis elegans by Sydney Brenner to study 'how genes might specify the complex structures found in higher organisms' revolutionized molecular and developmental biology and pioneered a new research area to study organ development and cellular differentiation with this model organism. Here, we review the role of the nematode in renal research and discuss future perspectives for its use in molecular nephrology.
Although C. elegans does not possess an excretory system comparable with the mammalian kidney, various studies have demonstrated the conserved functional role of kidney disease genes in C. elegans. The finding that cystic kidney diseases can be considered ciliopathies is based to a great extent on research studying their homologues in the nematode's ciliated neurons. Moreover, proteins of the kidney filtration barrier play important roles in both correct synapse formation, mechanosensation and signal transduction in the nematode. Intriguingly, the renal cell carcinoma disease gene product von-Hippel-Lindau protein was shown to regulate lifespan in the nematode. Last but not least, the worm's excretory system itself expresses genes involved in electrolyte and osmotic homeostasis and may serve as a valuable tool to study these processes on a molecular level.
C. elegans has proven to be an incredibly powerful tool in studying various aspects of renal function, development and disease and will certainly continue to do so in the future.
- SourceAvailable from: ncbi.nlm.nih.govProceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center) 10/2012; 25(4):395-6.
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ABSTRACT: The mammalian kidney is a vital organ with considerable cellular complexity and functional diversity. Kidney development is notable for requiring distinct but coincident tubulogenic processes involving reciprocal inductive signals between mesenchymal and epithelial progenitor compartments. Key molecular pathways mediating these interactions have been identified. Further, advances in the analysis of gene expression and gene activity, coupled with a detailed knowledge of cell origins, are enhancing our understanding of kidney morphogenesis and unraveling the normal processes of postnatal repair and identifying disease-causing mechanisms. This article focuses on recent insights into central regulatory processes governing organ assembly and renal disease, and predicts future directions for the field.Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology 05/2012; 4(5). · 8.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: At least 10% of adults and nearly all children who receive renal-replacement therapy have an inherited kidney disease. These patients rarely die when their disease progresses and can remain alive for many years because of advances in organ-replacement therapy. However, these disorders substantially decrease their quality of life and have a large effect on health-care systems. Since the kidneys regulate essential homoeostatic processes, inherited kidney disorders have multisystem complications, which add to the usual challenges for rare disorders. In this review, we discuss the nature of rare inherited kidney diseases, the challenges they pose, and opportunities from technological advances, which are well suited to target the kidney. Mechanistic insights from rare disorders are relevant for common disorders such as hypertension, kidney stones, cardiovascular disease, and progression of chronic kidney disease.The Lancet 05/2014; 383(9931):1844–1859. · 39.21 Impact Factor