Molecular detection of maturation stages in the developing kidney

Dev Biol. 2021 Feb;470:62-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2020.11.002. Epub 2020 Nov 14.


Recent advances in stem cell biology have enabled the generation of kidney organoids in vitro, and further maturation of these organoids is observed after experimental transplantation. However, the current organoids remain immature and their precise maturation stages are difficult to determine because of limited information on developmental stage-dependent gene expressions in the kidney in vivo. To establish relevant molecular coordinates, we performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) on developing kidneys at different stages in the mouse. By selecting genes that exhibited upregulation at birth compared with embryonic day 15.5 as well as cell lineage-specific expression, we generated gene lists correlated with developmental stages in individual cell lineages. Application of these lists to transplanted embryonic kidneys revealed that most cell types, other than the collecting ducts, exhibited similar maturation to kidneys at the neonatal stage in vivo, revealing non-synchronous maturation across the cell lineages. Thus, our scRNA-seq data can serve as useful molecular coordinates to assess the maturation of developing kidneys and eventually of kidney organoids.

Keywords: In situ hybridization; Kidney development; Maturation; Single-cell RNA sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Lineage
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / embryology
  • Kidney / growth & development*
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / cytology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / embryology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / growth & development
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Kidney Tubules / cytology
  • Kidney Tubules / embryology
  • Kidney Tubules / growth & development
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Podocytes / cytology
  • Podocytes / metabolism
  • RNA-Seq
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation


  • Transcription Factors