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Identification of kidney mesenchymal genes by a combination of microarray analysis and Sall1-GFP knockin mice.

Takasato M, Osafune K, Matsumoto Y, Kataoka Y, Yoshida N, Meguro H, Aburatani H, Asashima M, Nishinakamura R
Mechanisms of development


SALL1, a causative gene for Townes-Brocks syndrome, encodes a zinc finger protein, and its mouse homolog (Sall1) is essential for metanephros development, as noted during gene targeting. In the embryonic kidney, Sall1 is expressed abundantly in mesenchyme-derived structures from condensed mesenchyme, S-, comma-shaped bodies, to renal tubules and podocytes. We generated mice in which a green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene was inserted into the Sall1 locus and we isolated the GFP-positive population from embryonic kidneys of these mice by fluorescein-activated cell sorting. The GFP-positive population indeed expressed mesenchymal genes, while the negative population expressed genes in the ureteric bud. To systematically search for genes expressed in the mesenchyme-derived cells, we compared gene expression profiles in the GFP-positive and -negative populations using microarray analysis, followed by in situ hybridization. We detected many genes known to be important for metanephros development including Sall1, GDNF, Raldh2, Pax8 and FoxD1, and genes expressed abundantly in the metanephric mesenchyme such as Unc4.1, Six2, Osr-2 and PDGFc. We also found groups of genes including SSB-4, Smarcd3, micro-Crystallin, TRB-2, which are not known to be expressed in the metanephric mesenchyme. Therefore a combination of microarray technology and Sall1-GFP mice is useful for systematic identification of genes expressed in the developing kidney.

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