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: New model shows that filaments in heart muscle cells don't automatically keep the beat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

IOC defends Rio legacy amid green protests

19 hours ago

Ecological protests on Saturday dogged the final day of an International Olympic Committee executive board meeting in Rio as green campaigners slated the choice of a nature reserve to hold the golf event ...

Recommended for you

How fat breakdown contributes to insulin resistance

2 hours ago

New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has shed light on how chronic stress and obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes. The findings point the finger at an unexpected biological perpetrator – ...

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.