Understanding the molecular basis of the complex regulatory networks controlling renal ion transports is of major physiological and clinical importance. In this study, we aimed to identify evolutionarily conserved critical players in the function of the renal distal convoluted tubule (DCT) by a comparative transcriptomic approach. We generated a transgenic zebrafish line with expression of the red fluorescent mCherry protein under the control of the zebrafish DCT-specific promoter of the thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter (NCC). The mCherry expression was then used to isolate from the zebrafish mesonephric kidneys the distal late (DL) segments, the equivalent of the mammalian DCT, for subsequent RNA-seq analysis. We next compared this zebrafish DL transcriptome to the previously established mouse DCT transcriptome and identified a subset of gene products significantly enriched in both the teleost DL and the mammalian DCT, including SLCs and nuclear transcription factors. Surprisingly, several of the previously described regulators of NCC (e.g., SPAK, KLHL3, ppp1r1a) in the mouse were not found enriched in the zebrafish DL. Nevertheless, the zebrafish DL expressed enriched levels of related homologues. Functional knockdown of one of these genes, ppp1r1b, reduced the phosphorylation of NCC in the zebrafish pronephros, similar to what was seen previously in knockout mice for its homologue, Ppp1r1a. The present work is the first report on global gene expression profiling in a specific nephron portion of the zebrafish kidney, an increasingly used model system for kidney research. Our study suggests that comparative analysis of gene expression between phylogenetically distant species may be an effective approach to identify novel regulators of renal function.
Pflügers Archiv European Journal of Physiologyl of Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 27, 2017
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