Abstract 38: Rbp-j Regulates the Genetic Program of the Myo-epithelioid JG Cell
RBP-J, the major downstream effector of Notch signaling, is necessary to maintain the number of juxtaglomerular (JG) cells. In addition, RBP-J regulates the plasticity of arteriolar smooth muscle cells to adopt the renin cell phenotype when homeostasis is threatened. We hypothesized that RBP-J acts as an on/off switch controlling the expression of genes that determine the renin phenotype. To determine whether RBP-J directly affects renin gene expression, we generated mice harboring a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgene with green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the renin gene carrying a mutation in its RBP-J-binding site (Mut-BAC). Mut-BAC mice had markedly reduced GFP expression to 12.9 % ±0.01 (n=3) of the control (Wt-BAC) and a diminished response to homeostatic challenges: mut-BAC mice had a reduced number of GFP positive JG areas per total number of glomeruli (Wt-BAC: 25.1 % ±3.0, n=3; Mut-BAC: 9.3 % ±1.4, n=2, p<0.02) and no GFP expression along the arterioles. To determine whether the decrease in the number of JG cells in mice lacking RBP-J (cKO) was due to a diminished endowment of renin progenitor cells, we traced the fate of cells derived from the renin lineage by generating mice (RBP-Jfl/fl; Ren1d+/cre; R26R+/-) in which cells lacking RBP-J simultaneously expressed β-galactosidase (β-gal). The pattern of β-gal in cKO and control kidneys was identical, indicating that cells derived from the renin lineage did not die but instead changed their phenotype. Next we investigated the phenotype adopted by the cells derived from the renin lineage. Expression of α-smooth muscle actin and smoothelin (a marker of mature smooth muscle) was significantly decreased to 41 % ±7.0 (n=2) and 44 % ±8.8 (n=2) respectively with respect to controls (p<0.01). In addition, mutant JG cells in vivo did not express genes characteristic of the renin phenotype such as renin, calponin1, Nfat and Akr1b7 expressing instead fibroblast-specific protein 1 indicating the adoption of a fibroblast-like phenotype. Results indicate that RBP-J directly governs a genetic program that controls the dual endocrine-contractile phenotype of the JG cell, which is crucial to maintain blood pressure and fluid-electrolyte homeostasis.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.