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      Role of Transcription Factors in Podocytes

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          Despite a wealth of information on structural proteins, comparatively little is known on the transcriptional regulation of podocyte structure and function. In this review we will highlight those transcription factors which, by gene inactivation or classical transgenic experiments, have been shown to be essential for podocytes or probably will turn out to be so. The tumor suppressor protein WT1 is not only indispensable for the initial stages of kidney development, but also very likely maintains the integrity of the fully differentiated podocyte. In the kidney, the LIM homeodomain transcription factor LMX1B is specifically synthesized in podocytes, and mutations in LMX1B lead to nail-patella syndrome and the associated nephropathy. Other transcription factors such as hypoxia-inducible factors and PAX2 are likely to play a role in podocytes, whereas the significance of others, e.g. of POD1 and CITED2, is more speculative at this point.

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          Most cited references 48

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          WT-1 is required for early kidney development.

          In humans, germline mutations of the WT-1 tumor suppressor gene are associated with both Wilms' tumors and urogenital malformations. To develop a model system for the molecular analysis of urogenital development, we introduced a mutation into the murine WT-1 tumor suppressor gene by gene targeting in embryonic stem cells. The mutation resulted in embryonic lethality in homozygotes, and examination of mutant embryos revealed a failure of kidney and gonad development. Specifically, at day 11 of gestation, the cells of the metanephric blastema underwent apoptosis, the ureteric bud failed to grow out from the Wolffian duct, and the inductive events that lead to formation of the metanephric kidney did not occur. In addition, the mutation caused abnormal development of the mesothelium, heart, and lungs. Our results establish a crucial role for WT-1 in early urogenital development.
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            Nuclear retinoid receptors and the transcription of retinoid-target genes.

            The pleiotropic effects of retinoids are mediated by nuclear retinoid receptors (RARs and RXRs) which are ligand-activated transcription factors. In response to retinoid binding, RAR/RXR heterodimers undergo major conformational changes and orchestrate the transcription of specific gene networks, through binding to specific DNA response elements and recruiting cofactor complexes that act to modify local chromatin structure and/or engage the basal transcription machinery. Then the degradation of RARs and RXRs by the ubiquitin-proteasome controls the magnitude and the duration of the retinoid response. RARs and RXRs also integrate a variety of signaling pathways through phosphorylation events which cooperate with the ligand for the control of retinoid-target genes transcription. These different modes of regulation reveal unexpected levels of complexity in the dynamics of retinoid-dependent transcription.
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              Cre-mediated gene deletion in the mammary gland.

               P Gruss,  R. Wall,  Feng Li (1997)
              To delete genes specifically from mammary tissue using the Cre-lox system, we have established transgenic mice expressing Cre recombinase under control of the WAP gene promoter and the MMTV LTR. Cre activity in these mice was evaluated by three criteria. First, the tissue distribution of Cre mRNA was analyzed. Second, an adenovirus carrying a reporter gene was used to determine expression at the level of single cells. Third, tissue specificity of Cre activity was determined in a mouse strain carrying a reporter gene. In adult MMTV-Cre mice expression of the transgene was confined to striated ductal cells of the salivary gland and mammary epithelial cells in virgin and lactating mice. Expression of WAP-Cre was only detected in alveolar epithelial cells of mammary tissue during lactation. Analysis of transgenic mice carrying both the MMTV-Cre and the reporter transgenes revealed recombination in every tissue. In contrast, recombination mediated by Cre under control of the WAP gene promoter was largely restricted to the mammary gland but occasionally observed in the brain. These results show that transgenic mice with WAP-Cre but not MMTV-Cre can be used as a powerful tool to study gene function in development and tumorigenesis in the mammary gland.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Exp Nephrol
                Cardiorenal Medicine
                S. Karger AG
                June 2007
                06 June 2007
                : 106
                : 2
                : e60-e66
                Institute for Molecular and Cellular Anatomy, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany
                101794 Nephron Exp Nephrol 2007;106:e60–e66
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, References: 78, Pages: 1

                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology

                Foot processes, Slit diaphragm, Wilm’s tumor gene 1


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