Mouse models to study kidney development, function and disease.
ABSTRACT The mouse is the most widely used model organism to study gene function in the kidney in vivo. Here we review recent advances in technologies to manipulate the mouse genome and gene function to study renal biology. We discuss strengths and weaknesses of the approaches and provide examples in which they have been used to address renal questions. In addition, we provide a summary of the available resources of mouse tools and gene-targeting consortia.
Although conventional gene-targeting and spontaneous genetic mutations in mice have provided great insights into kidney function over several decades, the addition of powerful renal-specific gene-targeting tools and the advent of RNA technologies to manipulate gene function in vivo allow investigators to address research questions more precisely in the laboratory. Together with the establishment of multiple international consortia to target all the genes in the mouse genome and the development of gene trap and N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea resources, genetic manipulation in mice has become more efficient.
The availability of newer technologies and tremendous resources for mouse strains and reagents ensures that the mouse will remain a key model organism to study renal function.