Jagged2a-notch signaling mediates cell fate choice in the zebrafish pronephric duct

PLoS Genet. 2007 Jan 26;3(1):e18. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0030018.


Pronephros, a developmental model for adult mammalian kidneys (metanephros) and a functional kidney in early teleosts, consists of glomerulus, tubule, and duct. These structural and functional elements are responsible for different kidney functions, e.g., blood filtration, waste extraction, salt recovery, and water balance. During pronephros organogenesis, cell differentiation is a key step in generating different cell types in specific locations to accomplish designated functions. However, it is poorly understood what molecules regulate the differentiation of different cell types in different parts of the kidney. Two types of epithelial cells, multi-cilia cells and principal cells, are found in the epithelia of the zebrafish distal pronephric duct. While the former is characterized by at least 15 apically localized cilia and expresses centrin2 and rfx2, the latter is characterized by a single primary cilium and sodium pumps. Multi-cilia cells and principal cells differentiate from 17.5 hours post-fertilization onwards in a mosaic pattern. Jagged2a-Notch1a/Notch3-Her9 is responsible for specification and patterning of these two cell types through a lateral inhibition mechanism. Furthermore, multi-cilia cell hyperplasia was observed in mind bomb mutants and Mind bomb was shown to interact with Jagged2a and facilitate its internalization. Taken together, our findings add a new paradigm of Notch signaling in kidney development, namely, that Jagged2a-Notch signaling modulates cell fate choice in a nephric segment, the distal pronephric duct.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Jagged-2 Protein
  • Kidney / embryology*
  • Kidney / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Notch / genetics
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Jagged-2 Protein
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • jag2b protein, zebrafish

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF090432
  • GENBANK/AF398238
  • GENBANK/AF472614
  • GENBANK/AF472615
  • GENBANK/AY221106
  • GENBANK/AY221107
  • GENBANK/AY876015
  • GENBANK/BC054604
  • GENBANK/BC054629
  • GENBANK/BC090314
  • GENBANK/CF269323