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Epithelial transformation of metanephric mesenchyme in the developing kidney regulated by Wnt-4.

The kidney has been widely exploited as a model system for the study of tissue inductions regulating vertebrate organogenesis. Kidney development is initiated by the ingrowth of the Wolfian duct-derived ureteric bud into the presumptive kidney mesenchyme. In response to a signal from the ureter, mesenchymal cells condense, aggregate into pretubular clusters and undergo an epithelial conversion generating a simple tubule. This then undergoes morphogenesis and is transformed into the excretory system of the kidney, the nephron. We report here that the expression of Wnt-4, which encodes a secreted glycoprotein, correlates with, and is required for, kidney tubulogenesis. Mice lacking Wnt-4 activity fail to form pretubular cell aggregates; however, other aspects of mesenchymal and ureteric development are unaffected. Thus, Wnt-4 appears to act as an autoinducer of the mesenchyme to epithelial transition that underlies nephron development.

Pubmed ID: 7990960


  • Stark K
  • Vainio S
  • Vassileva G
  • McMahon AP



Publication Data

December 15, 1994

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Line
  • Chick Embryo
  • DNA
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Targeting
  • Genes, Wilms Tumor
  • Genetic Markers
  • Kidney Tubules
  • Mesoderm
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Stem Cells
  • Trans-Activators
  • Ureter
  • Wnt Proteins
  • Wnt4 Protein