The transcription factor Wilms' tumor suppressor 1 (WT1) is key to podocyte development and viability; however, WT1 transcriptional networks in podocytes remain elusive. We provide a comprehensive analysis of the genome-wide WT1 transcriptional network in podocytes in vivo using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIPseq) and RNA sequencing techniques. Our data show a specific role for WT1 in regulating the podocyte-specific transcriptome through binding to both promoters and enhancers of target genes. Furthermore, we inferred a podocyte transcription factor network consisting of WT1, LMX1B, TCF21, Fox-class and TEAD family transcription factors, and MAFB that uses tissue-specific enhancers to control podocyte gene expression. In addition to previously described WT1-dependent target genes, ChIPseq identified novel WT1-dependent signaling systems. These targets included components of the Hippo signaling system, underscoring the power of genome-wide transcriptional-network analyses. Together, our data elucidate a comprehensive gene regulatory network in podocytes suggesting that WT1 gene regulatory function and podocyte cell-type specification can best be understood in the context of transcription factor-regulatory element network interplay.
Keywords: gene expression; gene transcription; genetics and development; glomerular disease; glomerulus; podocyte.
Copyright © 2015 by the American Society of Nephrology.