Key gene in kidney development found

Oct 10, 2006

U.S. scientists in Memphis, Tenn., say they've found that a gene called Six2 plays a critical role in the development of human kidneys.

St. Jude Children's Hospital researchers say gene Six2 keeps a population of "parent" stem cells constantly available to produce the differentiated cells that give rise to specialized parts of the organ.

The kidney stem cells are the source of cells triggered by chemical signals to differentiate into nephrons -- the structures in the kidney that cleanse the blood of waste. The nephrons later become attached to tubes that collect the filtered blood as urine and direct it to the bladder.

The St. Jude team showed Six2 works by preventing some precursor cells from responding to those signals, thus ensuring there is a continual source of undifferentiated stem cells available to maintain the growth of the kidney.

"Our work shows that Six2 is critical to preventing the developing kidney from running out of stem cells and collapsing into a mass of underdeveloped tissue," said Guillermo Oliver, a member of the St. Jude Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology Department.

Oliver is senior author of a report on the research that appears in the online issue of The EMBO Journal.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Mutant protein in muscle linked to neuromuscular disorder

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Gate for bacterial toxins found

5 hours ago

Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Aktories and Dr. Panagiotis Papatheodorou from the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Freiburg have discovered the receptor responsible ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.