Concurrent BMP7 and FGF9 signalling governs AP-1 function to promote self-renewal of nephron progenitor cells

Nat Commun. 2015 Dec 4;6:10027. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10027.


Self-renewal of nephron progenitor cells (NPCs) is governed by BMP, FGF and WNT signalling. Mechanisms underlying cross-talk between these pathways at the molecular level are largely unknown. Here we delineate the pathway through which the proliferative BMP7 signal is transduced in NPCs in the mouse. BMP7 activates the MAPKs TAK1 and JNK to phosphorylate the transcription factor JUN, which in turn governs transcription of AP-1-element containing G1-phase cell cycle regulators such as Myc and Ccnd1 to promote NPC proliferation. Conditional inactivation of Tak1 or Jun in cap mesenchyme causes identical phenotypes characterized by premature depletion of NPCs. While JUN is regulated by BMP7, we find that its partner FOS is regulated by FGF9. We demonstrate that BMP7 and FGF9 coordinately regulate AP-1 transcription to promote G1-S cell cycle progression and NPC proliferation. Our findings identify a molecular mechanism explaining the important cooperation between two major NPC self-renewal pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7 / genetics
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7 / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Self Renewal*
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 9 / genetics
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 9 / metabolism*
  • Kidney / embryology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nephrons / cytology*
  • Nephrons / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / genetics
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism*


  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7
  • Fgf9 protein, mouse
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 9
  • Transcription Factor AP-1