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: Antiangiogenesis drugs could make major improvement in tuberculosis treatment

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Microsoft profit dips as revenue rises

37 minutes ago

Microsoft on Monday reported that its quarterly profit dipped as revenue increased with help from sales of Surface tablets, Xbox One consoles and cloud services.

Black hole chokes on a swallowed star

1 hour ago

A five-year analysis of an event captured by a tiny telescope at McDonald Observatory and followed up by telescopes on the ground and in space has led astronomers to believe they witnessed a giant black hole ...

Montana oil spill estimate lowered to 30,000 gallons

2 hours ago

Authorities have lowered their estimate of how much oil spilled from a broken pipeline beneath the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana, briefly contaminating the water supply of a city downstream.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.