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Genetic blueprint revealed for kidney design and formation
Date:11/10/2008

ic kidneys that were aged 15.5 days. This developmental time point in a mouse's normal 19- to 21-day gestation allows multiple stages of kidney formation to be studied at once because of how the organ develops. The organ's outer layers contain early stem cells that are still differentiating to become specific cell types, while inside the organ structures are forming at intermediate and more mature stages. This enabled measurement of varied gene expression stage-by-stage, compartment by compartment, the researchers said.

One of the study's more unexpected discoveries is overlapping gene expression between the kidney's different structures, according to Eric Brunskill, Ph.D., the study's lead author. Most of the thousands of genes involved in making a mammalian kidney are expressed at some level in every compartment. Previously it had been thought each kidney compartment would have unique genes driving its development, and those genes would not be expressed in the cells of other structures. This is not the case, as the research team found only a small number of genes expressed exclusively in specific kidney structures.

"Instead of it being a digital on-off pattern, where you might have many unique genes expressed in one part of the kidney but not in the other structures, we instead see a more analog picture, where almost all of the genes are expressed in the different parts but at varied levels," Dr. Brunskill said.

Helping make this discovery possible is the study's use of microarray technology to measure relative expression levels of every gene in each unique structure and developmental stage. Combined with two other technologies to precisely isolate specific types of cell populations (laser capture micro-dissection and florescent activated cell sorting), microarray analysis allowed a more quantitative and sensitive measure of varied gene expression than ever observed in a developing organ system.

Computational biology analysis (b
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Contact: Nick Miller
nicholas.miller@cchmc.org
513-803-6035
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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