The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 60: 57 - 63 (2016)

Vol 60, Issue 1-2-3

pdzrn3 is required for pronephros morphogenesis in Xenopus laevis

Developmental Expression Pattern | Published: 2 March 2016

Silvia Marracci, Alberto Vangelisti, Vittoria Raffa, Massimiliano Andreazzoli and Luciana Dente*

Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Biology, Dept. of Biology, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy


Pdzrn3, a multidomain protein with E3-ubiquitin ligase activity, has been reported to play a role in myoblast and osteoblast differentiation and, more recently, in neuronal and endothelial cell development. The expression of the pdzrn3 gene is developmentally regulated in various vertebrate tissues, including muscular, neural and vascular system. Little is known about its expression during kidney development, although genetic polymorphisms and alterations around the human pdzrn3 chromosomal region have been found to be associated with renal cell carcinomas and other kidney diseases. We investigated the pdzrn3 spatio-temporal expression pattern in Xenopus laevis embryos by in situ hybridization. We focused our study on the development of the pronephros, which is the embryonic amphibian kidney, functionally similar to the most primitive nephric structures of human kidney. To explore the role of pdzrn3 during renal morphogenesis, we performed loss-of-function experiments, through antisense morpholino injections and analysed the morphants using specific pronephric markers. Dynamic pdzrn3 expression was observed in embryonic tissues, such as somites, brain, eye, blood islands, heart, liver and pronephros. Loss of function experiments resulted in specific alterations of pronephros development. In particular, at early stages, pdzrn3 depletion was associated with a reduction of the pronephros anlagen and later, with perturbations of the tubulogenesis, including deformation of the proximal tubules. Rescue experiments, in which mRNA of the zebrafish pdzrn3 orthologue was injected together with the morpholino, allowed recovery of the kidney phenotypes. These results underline the importance of pdzrn3 expression for correct nephrogenesis.


Pdzrn3, pronephros anlagen, tubulogenesis, Xenopus embryogenesis

Full text in web format is not available for this article. Please download the PDF version.