Mutations of the SLIT2-ROBO2 pathway genes SLIT2 and SRGAP1 confer risk for congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract

Hum Genet. 2015 Aug;134(8):905-16. doi: 10.1007/s00439-015-1570-5. Epub 2015 May 31.


Congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) account for 40-50% of chronic kidney disease that manifests in the first two decades of life. Thus far, 31 monogenic causes of isolated CAKUT have been described, explaining ~12% of cases. To identify additional CAKUT-causing genes, we performed whole-exome sequencing followed by a genetic burden analysis in 26 genetically unsolved families with CAKUT. We identified two heterozygous mutations in SRGAP1 in 2 unrelated families. SRGAP1 is a small GTPase-activating protein in the SLIT2-ROBO2 signaling pathway, which is essential for development of the metanephric kidney. We then examined the pathway-derived candidate gene SLIT2 for mutations in cohort of 749 individuals with CAKUT and we identified 3 unrelated individuals with heterozygous mutations. The clinical phenotypes of individuals with mutations in SLIT2 or SRGAP1 were cystic dysplastic kidneys, unilateral renal agenesis, and duplicated collecting system. We show that SRGAP1 is expressed in early mouse nephrogenic mesenchyme and that it is coexpressed with ROBO2 in SIX2-positive nephron progenitor cells of the cap mesenchyme in developing rat kidney. We demonstrate that the newly identified mutations in SRGAP1 lead to an augmented inhibition of RAC1 in cultured human embryonic kidney cells and that the SLIT2 mutations compromise the ability of the SLIT2 ligand to inhibit cell migration. Thus, we report on two novel candidate genes for causing monogenic isolated CAKUT in humans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Exome
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins* / biosynthesis
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins* / genetics
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins* / biosynthesis
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins* / metabolism
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mutation*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins* / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Immunologic* / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Immunologic* / genetics
  • Receptors, Immunologic* / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Urogenital Abnormalities* / embryology
  • Urogenital Abnormalities* / genetics
  • Vesico-Ureteral Reflux* / embryology
  • Vesico-Ureteral Reflux* / genetics


  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • ROBO2 protein, human
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Robo2 protein, mouse
  • Robo2 protein, rat
  • SRGAP1 protein, human
  • srGAP1 protein, rat
  • Slit homolog 2 protein

Supplementary concepts

  • Cakut