Self-renewal and proliferation of nephron progenitor cells and the decision to initiate nephrogenesis are crucial events directing kidney development. Despite recent advancements in defining lineage and regulators for the progenitors, fundamental questions about mechanisms driving expansion of the progenitors remain unanswered. Here we show that Eya1 interacts with Six2 and Myc to control self-renewing cell activity. Cell fate tracing reveals a developmental restriction of the Eya1(+) population within the intermediate mesoderm to nephron-forming cell fates and a common origin shared between caudal mesonephric and metanephric nephrons. Conditional inactivation of Eya1 leads to loss of Six2 expression and premature epithelialization of the progenitors. Six2 mediates translocation of Eya1 to the nucleus, where Eya1 uses its threonine phosphatase activity to control Myc phosphorylation/dephosphorylation and function in the progenitor cells. Our results reveal a functional link between Eya1, Six2, and Myc in driving the expansion and maintenance of the multipotent progenitors during nephrogenesis.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.