Mice with renal-specific alterations 1 of stem cell-associated signaling develop symptoms of chronic kidney disease but surprisingly no tumors


  • A. Myszczyszyn
  • O. Popp
  • S. Kunz
  • A. Sporbert
  • S. Jung
  • L.C. Penning
  • A. Fendler
  • P. Mertins
  • W. Birchmeier


  • PLoS ONE


  • PLoS ONE 19 (3): e0282938


  • Previously, we found that Wnt and Notch signaling govern stem cells of clear cell kidney cancer (ccRCC) in patients. To mimic stem cell responses in the normal kidney in vitro in a marker-unbiased fashion, we have established tubular organoids (tubuloids) from total single adult mouse kidney epithelial cells in Matrigel and serum-free conditions. Deep proteomic and phosphoproteomic analyses revealed that tubuloids resembled renewal of adult kidney tubular epithelia, since tubuloid cells displayed activity of Wnt and Notch signaling, long-term proliferation and expression of markers of proximal and distal nephron lineages. In our wish to model stem cell-derived human ccRCC, we have generated two types of genetic double kidney mutants in mice: Wnt-β-catenin-GOF together with Notch-GOF and Wnt-β-catenin-GOF together with a most common alteration in ccRCC, Vhl-LOF. An inducible Pax8-rtTA-LC1-Cre was used to drive recombination specifically in adult kidney epithelial cells. We confirmed mutagenesis of β-catenin, Notch and Vhl alleles on DNA, protein and mRNA target gene levels. Surprisingly, we observed symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in mutant mice, but no increased proliferation and tumorigenesis. Thus, the responses of kidney stem cells in the tubuloid and genetic systems produced different phenotypes, i.e. enhanced renewal versus CKD.