Zhendong Ma

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, United States

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Publications (4)35.2 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that is characterized by cyst formation in kidney tubules. PKD arises from abnormalities of the primary cilium, a sensory organelle located on the cell surface. Here, we show that the primary cilium of renal epithelial cells contains a protein complex comprising adenylyl cyclase 5/6 (AC5/6), A-kinase anchoring protein 150 (AKAP150), and protein kinase A. Loss of primary cilia caused by deletion of Kif3a results in activation of AC5 and increased cAMP levels. Polycystin-2 (PC2), a ciliary calcium channel that is mutated in human PKD, interacts with AC5/6 through its C terminus. Deletion of PC2 increases cAMP levels, which can be corrected by reexpression of wild-type PC2 but not by a mutant lacking calcium channel activity. Phosphodiesterase 4C (PDE4C), which catabolizes cAMP, is also located in renal primary cilia and interacts with the AKAP150 complex. Expression of PDE4C is regulated by the transcription factor hepatocyte nuclear factor-1β (HNF-1β), mutations of which produce kidney cysts. PDE4C is down-regulated and cAMP levels are increased in HNF-1β mutant kidney cells and mice. Collectively, these findings identify PC2 and PDE4C as unique components of an AKAP complex in primary cilia and reveal a common mechanism for dysregulation of cAMP signaling in cystic kidney diseases arising from different gene mutations.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2011; 108(26):10679-84. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian kidney is composed of thousands of individual epithelial tubules known as nephrons. Deficits in nephron number are associated with myriad diseases ranging from complete organ failure to congenital hypertension. A balance between differentiation and maintenance of a mesenchymal progenitor cell population determines the final number of nephrons. How this balance is struck is poorly understood. Previous studies have suggested that Wnt9b/β-catenin signaling induced differentiation (mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition) in a subset of the progenitors but needed to be repressed in the remaining progenitors to keep them in the undifferentiated state. Here, we report that Wnt9b/β-catenin signaling is active in the progenitors and is required for their renewal/proliferation. Using a combination of approaches, we have revealed a mechanism through which cells receiving the same Wnt9b/β-catenin signal can respond in distinct ways (proliferate versus differentiate) depending on the cellular environment in which the signal is received. Interpretation of the signal is dependent, at least in part, on the activity of the transcription factor Six2. Six2-positive cells that receive the Wnt9b signal are maintained as progenitors whereas cells with reduced levels of Six2 are induced to differentiate by Wnt9b. Using this simple mechanism, the kidney is able to balance progenitor cell expansion and differentiation insuring proper nephron endowment. These findings provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms that regulate progenitor cell differentiation during normal and pathological conditions.
    Development 02/2011; 138(7):1247-57. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocyte nuclear factor-1beta (HNF-1beta) is a transcription factor that regulates gene expression in the kidney, liver, pancreas, and other epithelial organs. Mutations of HNF-1beta lead to a syndrome of inherited renal cysts and diabetes and are also a common cause of sporadic renal dysplasia. The full complement of target genes responsible for the functions of HNF-1beta, however, is incompletely defined. Using a functional genomics approach involving chromatin immunoprecipitation and promoter arrays, combined with gene expression profiling, we found that an HNF-1beta target gene in the kidney is kinesin family member 12 (Kif12), a gene previously identified as a candidate modifier gene in the cpk mouse model of polycystic kidney disease. Mutations of HNF-1beta inhibited Kif12 transcription in both cultured cells and knockout mice by altering co-factor recruitment and histone modification. Because kinesin-12 family members participate in orienting cell division, downregulation of Kif12 may underlie the abnormal planar cell polarity observed in cystic kidney diseases.
    Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 12/2008; 20(1):41-7. · 8.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocyte nuclear factor-1beta (HNF-1beta) is a Pit-1, Oct-1/2, Unc-86 (POU) homeodomain-containing transcription factor expressed in the kidney, liver, pancreas, and other epithelial organs. Mutations of HNF-1beta cause maturity-onset diabetes of the young, type 5 (MODY5), which is characterized by early-onset diabetes mellitus and congenital malformations of the kidney, pancreas, and genital tract. Knockout of HNF-1beta in the mouse kidney results in cyst formation. However, the signaling pathways and transcriptional programs controlled by HNF-1beta are poorly understood. Using genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation and DNA microarray (ChIP-chip) and microarray analysis of mRNA expression, we identified SOCS3 (suppressor of cytokine signaling-3) as a previously unrecognized target gene of HNF-1beta in the kidney. HNF-1beta binds to the SOCS3 promoter and represses SOCS3 transcription. The expression of SOCS3 is increased in HNF-1beta knockout mice and in renal epithelial cells expressing dominant-negative mutant HNF-1beta. Increased levels of SOCS-3 inhibit HGF-induced tubulogenesis by decreasing phosphorylation of Erk and STAT-3. Conversely, knockdown of SOCS-3 in renal epithelial cells expressing dominant-negative mutant HNF-1beta rescues the defect in HGF-induced tubulogenesis by restoring phosphorylation of Erk and STAT-3. Thus, HNF-1beta regulates tubulogenesis by controlling the levels of SOCS-3 expression. Manipulating the levels of SOCS-3 may be a useful therapeutic approach for human diseases induced by HNF-1beta mutations.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2008; 104(51):20386-91. · 9.81 Impact Factor