Wnt Signaling in Kidney Development and Disease

Yongping Wang, Chengji Zhou, Youhua Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wnt signal cascade is an evolutionarily conserved, developmental pathway that regulates embryogenesis, injury repair, and pathogenesis of human diseases. It is well established that Wnt ligands transmit their signal via canonical, β-catenin-dependent and noncanonical, β-catenin-independent mechanisms. Mounting evidence has revealed that Wnt signaling plays a key role in controlling early nephrogenesis and is implicated in the development of various kidney disorders. Dysregulations of Wnt expression cause a variety of developmental abnormalities and human diseases, such as congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract, cystic kidney, and renal carcinoma. Multiple Wnt ligands, their receptors, and transcriptional targets are upregulated during nephron formation, which is crucial for mediating the reciprocal interaction between primordial tissues of ureteric bud and metanephric mesenchyme. Renal cysts are also associated with disrupted Wnt signaling. In addition, Wnt components are important players in renal tumorigenesis. Activation of Wnt/β-catenin is instrumental for tubular repair and regeneration after acute kidney injury. However, sustained activation of this signal cascade is linked to chronic kidney diseases and renal fibrosis in patients and experimental animal models. Mechanistically, Wnt signaling controls a diverse array of biologic processes, such as cell cycle progression, cell polarity and migration, cilia biology, and activation of renin-angiotensin system. In this chapter, we have reviewed recent findings that implicate Wnt signaling in kidney development and diseases. Targeting this signaling may hold promise for future treatment of kidney disorders in patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Acute kidney injury
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Nephrogenesis
  • Renal fibrosis
  • Renin-angiotensin system
  • Wnt ligands
  • β-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology

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