Scaling up to study brca2: the zeppelin zebrafish mutant reveals a role for brca2 in embryonic development of kidney mesoderm.

Drummond, B.E., Wingert, R.A.
Cancer cell & microenvironment   5(1): (Journal)
Registered Authors
Drummond, Bridgette, Wingert, Rebecca
brca2, development, fanconi anemia, interrenal gland, kidney, podocyte, zebrafish
MeSH Terms
29707605 Full text @ Cancer Cell Microenviron
Specialized renal epithelial cells known as podocytes are essential components of the filtering structures within the kidney that coordinate the process of removing waste from the bloodstream. Podocyte loss initiates many human kidney diseases as it triggers subsequent damage to the kidney, leading to progressive loss of function that culminates with end stage renal failure. Podocyte morphology, function and gene expression profiles are well conserved between zebrafish and humans, making the former a relevant model to study podocyte development and model kidney diseases. Recently, we reported that whole genome sequencing of the zeppelin (zep) zebrafish mutant, which exhibits podocyte abrogation, revealed that the causative lesion for this defect was a splicing mutation in the breast cancer 2, early onset (brca2) gene. This was a surprising and novel discovery, as previous research on brca2/BRCA2 in a number of vertebrate animal models had not implicated an explicit role for this gene in kidney mesoderm development. Interestingly, the abrogation of the podocyte lineage in zep mutants was also accompanied by the formation of a larger interrenal (IR) gland, which is analogous to the adrenal gland in mammals, and suggested a fate switch between the renal and inter renal mesodermal derivatives. Mirroring these findings, knockdown of brca2 also recapitulated the loss of podocytes and increased IR population. In addition, brca2 overexpression was sufficient to partially rescue podocytes in zep mutants, and induced ectopic podocyte formation in wild-type embryos. Interestingly, immunofluorescence studies indicated that zep mutants had elevated P-h2A.X levels, suggesting that DNA repair is dysfunctional in these animals and contributes to the zep phenotype. Moving forward, this unique zebrafish mutant provides a new model to further explore how brca2 contributes to the development of tissues including the kidney mesoderm-roles which may have implications for renal diseases as well.
Genes / Markers
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Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes