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Pediatr Nephrol. 2014 Apr;29(4):737-44. doi: 10.1007/s00467-013-2733-z. Epub 2014 Jan 21.

Coordination of kidney organogenesis by Wnt signaling.

Author information

1
The Centre of Excellence in Cell-Extracellular Matrix Research, Oulu, Finland.

Abstract

Several Wnt proteins are expressed in the embryonic kidney during various stages of development. Gene knockout models and ex vivo studies have provided strong evidence that Wnt-mediated signals are essential in renal ontogeny. Perhaps the most critical factors, Wnt9b and Wnt4, function during the early phase when the cap mesenchyme is induced to undergo morphogenesis into a nephron. Wnt11 controls early ureteric bud branching and contributes to the final kidney size. In addition to its inductive role, later on Wnt9b plays a significant role in the convergent extension of the tubular epithelial cells, while Wnt4 signaling controls smooth muscle cell fates in the medulla. Wnt7b has a specific function together with its likely antagonist Dkk1 in controlling the morphogenesis of the renal medulla. The signal-transduction mechanisms of the Wnts in kidney ontogeny have not been resolved, but studies characterizing the downstream signaling pathways are emerging. Aberrant Wnt signaling may lead to kidney diseases ranging from fatal kidney agenesis to more benign phenotypes. Wnt-mediated signaling regulates several critical aspects of kidney development from the early inductive stages to later steps of tubular epithelial maturation.

PMID:
24445433
PMCID:
PMC3928513
DOI:
10.1007/s00467-013-2733-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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