Pod-1, a mesoderm-specific basic-helix-loop-helix protein expressed in mesenchymal and glomerular epithelial cells in the developing kidney

Mech Dev. 1998 Feb;71(1-2):37-48. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(97)00201-3.


Basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins are transcriptional regulatory proteins that govern cell fate determination and differentiation in a variety of tissues. We have identified a novel bHLH protein, named Pod-1, that belongs to a recently-described subfamily of bHLH proteins that have essential roles in the embryonic development of mesodermal tissues. In the adult human and mouse, Pod-1 was most highly expressed in the kidney, lung and heart. In developing mouse embryos, Pod-1 was selectively expressed in mesenchymal cells at sites of epithelial-mesenchymal interaction in the kidney, lung, intestine and pancreas. Pod-1 was also expressed in visceral glomerular epithelial cells (podocytes) in the kidney, and its expression coincided with the onset of podocyte differentiation. The expression of Pod-1 in embryonic kidney explants was inhibited using antisense oligonucleotides. Inhibition of Pod-1 expression resulted in decreased mesenchymal cell condensation around the ureteric bud and a 40% decrease in ureteric branching. Pod-1 is the first tissue-restricted basic-helix-loop-helix protein that has been identified in the developing kidney where it may play a role in the regulation of morphogenetic events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA, Complementary / isolation & purification
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Female
  • Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs / genetics*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Kidney Glomerulus / cytology
  • Kidney Glomerulus / embryology*
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mesoderm / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • TCF21 protein, human
  • Tcf21 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF035717
  • GENBANK/AF035718