[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interactions between the nephrogenic mesenchyme and the ureteric bud during kidney development are well documented. While recent studies have shed some light on the importance of the stroma during renal development, many of the signals generated in the stroma, the genetic pathways and interaction networks involving the stroma are yet to be identified. Our previous studies demonstrate that retinoids are crucial for branching of the ureteric bud and for patterning of the cortical stroma. In the present study we demonstrate that autocrine retinoic acid (RA) signaling in stromal cells is critical for their survival and patterning, and show that Extracellular matrix 1, Ecm1, a gene that in humans causes irritable bowel syndrome and lipoid proteinosis, is a novel RA-regulated target in the developing kidney, which is secreted from the cortical stromal cells surrounding the cap mesenchyme and ureteric bud. Our studies suggest that Ecm1 is required in the ureteric bud for regulating the distribution of Ret which is normally restricted to the tips, as inhibition of Ecm1 results in an expanded domain of Ret expression and reduced numbers of branches. We propose a model in which retinoid signaling in the stroma activates expression of Ecm1, which in turn down-regulates Ret expression in the ureteric bud cleft, where bifurcation normally occurs and normal branching progresses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The urothelium is a multilayered epithelium that serves as a barrier between the urinary tract and blood, preventing the exchange of water and toxic substances. It consists of superficial cells specialized for synthesis and transport of uroplakins that assemble into a tough apical plaque, one or more layers of intermediate cells, and keratin 5-expressing basal cells (K5-BCs), which are considered to be progenitors in the urothelium and other specialized epithelia. Fate mapping, however, reveals that intermediate cells rather than K5-BCs are progenitors in the adult regenerating urothelium, that P cells, a transient population, are progenitors in the embryo, and that retinoids are critical in P cells and intermediate cells, respectively, for their specification during development and regeneration. These observations have important implications for tissue engineering and repair and, ultimately, may lead to treatments that prevent loss of the urothelial barrier, a major cause of voiding dysfunction and bladder pain syndrome.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Developmental Cell
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the receptor tyrosine kinase RET are associated with congenital anomalies of kidneys or urinary tract (CAKUT). RET tyrosine Y1015 is the docking site for PLCγ, a major regulator of RET signaling. Abrogating signaling via Y1015 causes CAKUT that are markedly different than renal agenesis in Ret-null or RetY1062F mutant mice. We performed analysis of Y1015F mutant upper and lower urinary tracts in mice to delineate its molecular and developmental roles during early urinary tract formation. We found that the degeneration of the common nephric ducts (CND), the caudal-most Wolffian duct (WD) segment, depends on Y1015 signals. The CNDs in Y1015F mutants persist owing to increased proliferation and reduced apoptosis, and showed abundance of phospho-ERK-positive cells. In the upper urinary tract, the Y1015 signals are required for proper patterning of the mesonephros and metanephros. Timely regression of mesonephric mesenchyme and proper demarcation of mesonephric and metanephric mesenchyme from the WD depends on RetY1015 signaling. We show that the mechanism of de novo ectopic budding is via increased ERK activity due to abnormal mesenchymal GDNF expression. Although reduction in GDNF dosage improved CAKUT it did not affect delayed mesenchyme regression. Experiments using whole-mount immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and explants cultures of early embryos with ERK-specific inhibitors suggest an imbalance between increased proliferation, decreased apoptosis and increased ERK activity as a mechanism for WD defects in RetY1015F mice. Our work demonstrates novel inhibitory roles of RetY1015 and provides a possible mechanistic explanation for some of the confounding broad range phenotypes in individuals with CAKUT.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In humans and mice, mutations in the Ret gene result in Hirschsprung's disease and renal defects. In the embryonic kidney, binding of Ret to its ligand, Gdnf, induces a program of epithelial cell remodeling that controls primary branch formation and branching morphogenesis within the kidney. Our previous studies showed that transcription factors belonging to the retinoic acid (RA) receptor family are crucial for controlling Ret expression in the ureteric bud; however, the mechanism by which retinoid-signaling acts has remained unclear. In the current study, we show that expression of a dominant-negative RA receptor in mouse ureteric bud cells abolishes Ret expression and Ret-dependent functions including ureteric bud formation and branching morphogenesis, indicating that RA-receptor signaling in ureteric bud cells is crucial for renal development. Conversely, we find that RA-receptor signaling in ureteric bud cells depends mainly on RA generated in nearby stromal cells by retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2, an enzyme required for most fetal RA synthesis. Together, these studies suggest that renal development depends on paracrine RA signaling between stromal mesenchyme and ureteric bud cells that regulates Ret expression both during ureteric bud formation and within the developing collecting duct system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The urinary tract is an outflow system that conducts urine from the kidneys to the bladder via the ureters that propel urine to the bladder via peristalsis. Once in the bladder, the ureteral valve, a mechanism that is not well understood, prevents backflow of urine to the kidney that can cause severe damage and induce end-stage renal disease. The upper and lower urinary tract compartments form independently, connecting at mid-gestation when the ureters move from their primary insertion site in the Wolffian ducts to the trigone, a muscular structure comprising the bladder floor just above the urethra. Precise connections between the ureters and the trigone are crucial for proper function of the ureteral valve mechanism; however, the developmental events underlying these connections and trigone formation are not well understood. According to established models, the trigone develops independently of the bladder, from the ureters, Wolffian ducts or a combination of both; however, these models have not been tested experimentally. Using the Cre-lox recombination system in lineage studies in mice, we find, unexpectedly, that the trigone is formed mostly from bladder smooth muscle with a more minor contribution from the ureter, and that trigone formation depends at least in part on intercalation of ureteral and bladder muscle. These studies suggest that urinary tract development occurs differently than previously thought, providing new insights into the mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal development.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Removal of toxic substances from the blood depends on patent connections between the kidney, ureters and bladder that are established when the ureter is transposed from its original insertion site in the male genital tract to the bladder. This transposition is thought to occur as the trigone forms from the common nephric duct and incorporates into the bladder. Here we re-examine this model in the context of normal and abnormal development. We show that the common nephric duct does not differentiate into the trigone but instead undergoes apoptosis, a crucial step for ureter transposition controlled by vitamin A-induced signals from the primitive bladder. Ureter abnormalities occur in 1-2% of the human population and can cause obstruction and end-stage renal disease. These studies provide an explanation for ureter defects underlying some forms of obstruction in humans and redefine the current model of ureter maturation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Development of the metanephric kidney involves the establishment of discrete zones of induction and differentiation that are crucial to the future radial patterning of the organ. Genetic deletion of the forkhead transcription factor, Foxd1, results in striking renal abnormalities, including the loss of these discrete zones and pelvic fused kidneys. We have investigated the molecular and cellular basis of the kidney phenotypes displayed by Foxd1-null embryos and report here that they are likely to be caused by a failure in the correct formation of the renal capsule. Unlike the single layer of Foxd1-positive stroma that comprises the normal renal capsule, the mutant capsule contains heterogeneous layers of cells, including Bmp4-expressing cells, which induce ectopic phospho-Smad1 signaling in nephron progenitors. This missignaling disrupts their early patterning, which, in turn, causes mispatterning of the ureteric tree, while delaying and disorganizing nephrogenesis. In addition, the defects in capsule formation prevent the kidneys from detaching from the body wall, thus explaining their fusion and pelvic location. For the first time, functions have been ascribed to the renal capsule that include delineation of the organ and acting as a barrier to inappropriate exogenous signals, while providing a source of endogenous signals that are crucial to the establishment of the correct zones of induction and differentiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Almost 1% of human infants are born with urogenital abnormalities, many of which are linked to irregular connections between the distal ureters and the bladder. During development, ureters migrate by an unknown mechanism from their initial integration site in the Wolffian ducts up to the base of the bladder in a process that we call ureter maturation. Rara(-/-) Rarb2(-/-) mice display impaired vitamin A signaling and develop syndromic urogenital malformations similar to those that occur in humans, including renal hypoplasia, hydronephrosis and mega-ureter, abnormalities also seen in mice with mutations in the proto-oncogene Ret. Here we show that ureter maturation depends on formation of the 'trigonal wedge', a newly identified epithelial outgrowth from the base of the Wolffian ducts, and that the distal ureter abnormalities seen in Rara(-/-) Rarb2(-/-) and Ret(-/-) mutant mice are probably caused by a failure of this process. Our studies indicate that formation of the trigonal wedge may be essential for correct insertion of the distal ureters into the bladder, and that these events are mediated by the vitamin A and Ret signaling pathways.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations or rearrangements in the gene encoding the receptor tyrosine kinase RET result in Hirschsprung disease, cancer and renal malformations. The standard model of renal development involves reciprocal signaling between the ureteric bud epithelium, inducing metanephric mesenchyme to differentiate into nephrons, and metanephric mesenchyme, inducing the ureteric bud to grow and branch. RET and GDNF (a RET ligand) are essential mediators of these epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. Vitamin A deficiency has been associated with widespread embryonic abnormalities, including renal malformations. The vitamin A signal is transduced by nuclear retinoic acid receptors (RARs). We previously showed that two RAR genes, Rara and Rarb2, were colocalized in stromal mesenchyme, a third renal cell type, where their deletion led to altered stromal cell patterning, impaired ureteric bud growth and downregulation of Ret in the ureteric bud. Here we demonstrate that forced expression of Ret in mice deficient for both Rara and Rarb2 (Rara(-/-)Rarb2(-/-)) genetically rescues renal development, restoring ureteric bud growth and stromal cell patterning. Our studies indicate the presence of a new reciprocal signaling loop between the ureteric bud epithelium and the stromal mesenchyme, dependent on Ret and vitamin A. In the first part of the loop, vitamin-A-dependent signals secreted by stromal cells control Ret expression in the ureteric bud. In the second part of the loop, ureteric bud signals dependent on Ret control stromal cell patterning.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The essential role of vitamin A and its metabolites, retinoids, in kidney development has been demonstrated in vitamin A deficiency and gene targeting studies. Retinoids signal via nuclear transcription factors belonging to the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) and retinoid X receptor (RXR) families. Inactivation of RARaplpha and RARbeta2 receptors together, but not singly, resulted in renal malformations, suggesting that within a given renal cell type, their concerted function is required for renal morphogenesis. At birth, RARalpha beta2(-) mutants displayed small kidneys, containing few ureteric bud branches, reduced numbers of nephrons and lacking the nephrogenic zone where new nephrons are continuously added. These observations have prompted us to investigate the role of RARalpha and RARbeta2 in renal development in detail. We have found that within the embryonic kidney, RARalpha and RARbeta2 are colocalized in stromal cells, but not in other renal cell types, suggesting that stromal cells mediate retinoid-dependent functions essential for renal development. Analysis of RARalpha beta2(-) mutant kidneys at embryonic stages revealed that nephrons were formed and revealed no changes in the intensity or distribution of molecular markers specific for different metanephric mesenchymal cell types. In contrast the development of the collecting duct system was greatly impaired in RARalpha beta2(-) mutant kidneys. Fewer ureteric bud branches were present, and ureteric bud ends were positioned abnormally, at a distance from the renal capsule. Analysis of genes important for ureteric bud morphogenesis revealed that the proto-oncogene c-ret was downregulated. Our results suggest that RARalpha and RARbeta2 are required for generating stromal cell signals that maintain c-ret expression in the embryonic kidney. Since c-ret signaling is required for ureteric bud morphogenesis, loss of c-ret expression is a likely cause of impaired ureteric bud branching in RARalpha beta2(-) mutants.