High-resolution gene expression analysis of the developing mouse kidney defines novel cellular compartments within the nephron progenitor population

Dev Biol. 2009 Sep 15;333(2):312-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.06.043. Epub 2009 Jul 8.


The functional unit of the kidney is the nephron. During its organogenesis, the mammalian metanephric kidney generates thousands of nephrons over a protracted period of fetal life. All nephrons are derived from a population of self-renewing multi-potent progenitor cells, termed the cap mesenchyme. However, our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying nephron development is at an early stage. In order to identify factors involved in nephrogenesis, we performed a high-resolution, spatial profiling of a number of transcriptional regulators expressed within the cap mesenchyme and early developing nephron. Our results demonstrate novel, stereotypic, spatially defined cellular sub-domains within the cap mesenchyme, which may, in part, reflect induction of nephron precursors. These results suggest a hitherto unappreciated complexity of cell states that accompany the assembly of the metanephric kidney, likely reflecting diverse regulatory actions such as the maintenance and induction of nephron progenitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Kidney / embryology
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Models, Biological
  • Nephrons / embryology*
  • Nephrons / physiology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors
  • Wnt Proteins