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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ureteric bud apoptosis and renal hypoplasia in transgenic PAX2- Bax fetal mice mimics the renal-coloboma syndrome.

In humans, PAX2 haploinsufficiency causes renal-coloboma syndrome (RCS) involving eye abnormalities, renal hypoplasia, and renal failure in early life. The authors previously showed that heterozygous mutant Pax2 mice have smaller kidneys with fewer nephrons, associated with elevated apoptosis in the ureteric bud (UB). However, PAX2 may have a variety of developmental functions such as effects on cell fate and differentiation. To determine whether apoptosis alone is sufficient to cause a UB branching deficit, the authors targeted a pro-apoptotic gene (Baxalpha) to the embryonic kidney under the control of human PAX2 regulatory elements. The exogenous PAX2 promoter directed Baxalpha gene expression specifically to the developing kidney UB, eye, and mid/hindbrain. At E15.5 PAX2Promoter-Baxalpha fetal mice exhibited renal hypoplasia, elevated UB apoptosis, and retinal defects, mimicking the phenotype observed in RCS. The kidneys of E15.5 PAX2Promoter-Baxalpha fetal mice were 55% smaller than those of wild-type fetal mice, and they contained 70% of the normal level of UB branching. The data indicate that loss of Pax2 anti-apoptotic activity is sufficient to account for the reduced UB branching observed in RCS and suggest that elevated UB apoptosis may be a key process responsible for renal hypoplasia. The authors propose a morphogenic unit model in which cell survival influences the rate of UB branching and determines final nephron endowment.[1]


  1. Ureteric bud apoptosis and renal hypoplasia in transgenic PAX2-Bax fetal mice mimics the renal-coloboma syndrome. Dziarmaga, A., Clark, P., Stayner, C., Julien, J.P., Torban, E., Goodyer, P., Eccles, M. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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