Uncovering genes and regulatory pathways related to urinary albumin excretion

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2011 Jan;22(1):73-81. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2010050561. Epub 2010 Oct 28.


Identifying the genes underlying quantitative trait loci (QTL) for disease is difficult, mainly because of the low resolution of the approach and the complex genetics involved. However, recent advances in bioinformatics and the availability of genetic resources now make it possible to narrow the genetic intervals, test candidate genes, and define pathways affected by these QTL. In this study, we mapped three significant QTL and one suggestive QTL for an increased albumin-to-creatinine ratio on chromosomes (Chrs) 1, 4, 15, and 17, respectively, in a cross between the inbred MRL/MpJ and SM/J strains of mice. By combining data from several sources and by utilizing gene expression data, we identified Tlr12 as a likely candidate for the Chr 4 QTL. Through the mapping of 33,881 transcripts measured by microarray on kidney RNA from each of the 173 male F2 animals, we identified several downstream pathways associated with these QTL, including the glycan degradation, leukocyte migration, and antigen-presenting pathways. We demonstrate that by combining data from multiple sources, we can identify not only genes that are likely to be causal candidates for QTL but also the pathways through which these genes act to alter phenotypes. This combined approach provides valuable insights into the causes and consequences of renal disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / metabolism
  • Albuminuria / genetics*
  • Albuminuria / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Creatinine / metabolism
  • Female
  • Leukocytes / cytology
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Models, Animal
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptors / physiology


  • Albumins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Tlr12 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Creatinine