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      Imaging the Embryonic Kidney

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          The structural and functional development of the permanent mammalian kidney or metanephros is a complex process involving the actions of thousands of gene products, complex cell movements and tissue patterning in three dimensions (3D). This review focuses on the recent advances made in imaging technology, processing and analysis combined with mouse genetics and the generation of protein-reporter mice which has enabled us to monitor the development and movement of defined cell populations within the developing kidney in 3D and over time (4D).

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          Most cited references 20

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          EMAP and EMAGE: a framework for understanding spatially organized data.

          The Edinburgh MouseAtlas Project (EMAP) is a time-series of mouse-embryo volumetric models. The models provide a context-free spatial framework onto which structural interpretations and experimental data can be mapped. This enables collation, comparison, and query of complex spatial patterns with respect to each other and with respect to known or hypothesized structure. The atlas also includes a time-dependent anatomical ontology and mapping between the ontology and the spatial models in the form of delineated anatomical regions or tissues. The models provide a natural, graphical context for browsing and visualizing complex data. The Edinburgh Mouse Atlas Gene-Expression Database (EMAGE) is one of the first applications of the EMAP framework and provides a spatially mapped gene-expression database with associated tools for data mapping, submission, and query. In this article, we describe the underlying principles of the Atlas and the gene-expression database, and provide a practical introduction to the use of the EMAP and EMAGE tools, including use of new techniques for whole body gene-expression data capture and mapping.
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            Real-time analysis of ureteric bud branching morphogenesis in vitro.

            While it is clear that the normal branching morphogenesis of the ureteric bud (UB) is critical for development of the metanephric kidney, the specific patterns of branching and growth have heretofore only been inferred from static images. Here, we present a systematic time-lapse analysis of UB branching morphogenesis during the early development of the mouse kidney in organ culture. Metanephric primordia from Hoxb7/GFP transgenic embryos were cultured for 3-4 days, and GFP images of the UB taken every 30 min were assembled into movies. Analysis of these movies (available as )revealed that the UB is a highly plastic structure, which can branch in a variety of complex patterns, including terminal bifid, terminal trifid, and lateral branching. To examine kinetic parameters of branching and elongation, skeletal representations of the UB were used to measure the number of segments and branch points and the length of each segment as a function of time and of branch generation. These measurements provide a baseline for future studies on mutant kidneys with defects in renal development. To illustrate how these quantitative methods can be applied to the analysis of abnormal kidney development, we examined the effects of the MEK1 inhibitor PD98059 on renal organ cultures and confirmed a previous report that the drug has a specific inhibitory effect on UB branching as opposed to elongation.
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              Foxd1-dependent signals control cellularity in the renal capsule, a structure required for normal renal development.

              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.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Exp Nephrol
                Cardiorenal Medicine
                S. Karger AG
                March 2006
                13 March 2006
                : 103
                : 2
                : e62-e68
                Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Australia
                90618 Nephron Exp Nephrol 2006;103:e62–e68
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, References: 34, Pages: 1
                Self URI (application/pdf):
                Microscopic Imaging


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