Receptor tyrosine kinases in kidney development

J Signal Transduct. 2011:2011:869281. doi: 10.1155/2011/869281. Epub 2011 Mar 3.


The kidney plays a fundamental role in the regulation of arterial blood pressure and fluid/electrolyte homeostasis. As congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) constitute one of the most common human birth defects, improved understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to CAKUT is critical. Accumulating evidence indicates that aberrant signaling via receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) is causally linked to CAKUT. Upon activation by their ligands, RTKs dimerize, undergo autophosphorylation on specific tyrosine residues, and interact with adaptor proteins to activate intracellular signal transduction pathways that regulate diverse cell behaviours such as cell proliferation, survival, and movement. Here, we review the current understanding of role of RTKs and their downstream signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of CAKUT.