Patients with nail-patella syndrome often suffer from a nephropathy, which ultimately results in chronic renal failure. The finding that this disease is caused by mutations in the transcription factor LMX1B, which in the kidney is expressed exclusively in podocytes, offers the opportunity for a better understanding of the renal pathogenesis. In our analysis of the nephropathy in nail-patella syndrome, we have made use of the Lmx1b knockout mouse. Transmission electron micrographs showed that glomerular development in general and the differentiation of podocytes in particular were severely impaired. The glomerular capillary network was poorly elaborated, fenestrae in the endothelial cells were largely missing, and the glomerular basement membrane was split. In addition podocytes retained a cuboidal shape and did not form foot processes and slit diaphragms. Expression of the α4 chain of collagen IV and of podocin was also severely reduced. Using gel shift assays, we demonstrated that LMX1B bound to two AT-rich sequences in the promoter region of NPHS2, the gene encoding podocin. Our results demonstrate that Lmx1b regulates important steps in glomerular development and establish a link between three hereditary kidney diseases: nail-patella syndrome (Lmx1b), steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (podocin), and Alport syndrome (collagen IV α4).
Claudia Rohr, Jürgen Prestel, Laurence Heidet, Hiltraud Hosser, Wilhelm Kriz, Randy L. Johnson, Corinne Antignac, Ralph Witzgall
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.