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1.  A Genome-Wide Screen to Identify Transcription Factors Expressed in Pelvic Ganglia of the Lower Urinary Tract 
Relative positions of neurons within mature murine pelvic ganglia based on expression of neurotransmitters have been described. However the spatial organization of developing innervation in the murine urogenital tract (UGT) and the gene networks that regulate specification and maturation of neurons within the pelvic ganglia of the lower urinary tract (LUT) are unknown. We used whole-mount immunohistochemistry and histochemical stains to localize neural elements in 15.5 days post coitus (dpc) fetal mice. To identify potential regulatory factors expressed in pelvic ganglia, we surveyed expression patterns for known or probable transcription factors (TF) annotated in the mouse genome by screening a whole-mount in situ hybridization library of fetal UGTs. Of the 155 genes detected in pelvic ganglia, 88 encode TFs based on the presence of predicted DNA-binding domains. Neural crest (NC)-derived progenitors within the LUT were labeled by Sox10, a well-known regulator of NC development. Genes identified were categorized based on patterns of restricted expression in pelvic ganglia, pelvic ganglia and urethral epithelium, or pelvic ganglia and urethral mesenchyme. Gene expression patterns and the distribution of Sox10+, Phox2b+, Hu+, and PGP9.5+ cells within developing ganglia suggest previously unrecognized regional segregation of Sox10+ progenitors and differentiating neurons in early development of pelvic ganglia. Reverse transcription-PCR of pelvic ganglia RNA from fetal and post-natal stages demonstrated that multiple TFs maintain post-natal expression, although Pax3 is extinguished before weaning. Our analysis identifies multiple potential regulatory genes including TFs that may participate in segregation of discrete lineages within pelvic ganglia. The genes identified here are attractive candidate disease genes that may now be further investigated for their roles in malformation syndromes or in LUT dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3439845  PMID: 22988430
pelvic ganglia; autonomic nervous system; transcription factor; in situ hybridization; lower urinary tract; genitourinary; mouse; Genitourinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project
2.  Dicer regulates the development of nephrogenic and ureteric compartments in the mammalian kidney 
Kidney international  2010;79(3):317-330.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a large and growing class of small, non-coding, regulatory RNAs that control gene expression predominantly at the post-transcriptional level. The production of most functional miRNAs depends on the enzymatic activity of Dicer, an RNase III class enzyme. To address the potential action of Dicer-dependent miRNAs in mammalian kidney development, we conditionally ablated Dicer function within cells of nephron lineage and the ureteric bud-derived collecting duct system. Six2Cre-mediated removal of Dicer activity from the progenitors of the nephron epithelium led to elevated apoptosis and premature termination of nephrogenesis. Thus, Dicer action is important for maintaining the viability of this critical self-renewing progenitor pool and, consequently, development of a normal nephron complement. HoxB7Cre-mediated removal of Dicer function from the ureteric bud epithelium led to the development of renal cysts. This was preceded by excessive cell proliferation and apoptosis, and accompanied by disrupted ciliogenesis within the ureteric bud epithelium. Dicer removal also disrupted branching morphogenesis with the phenotype correlating with downregulation of Wnt11 and c-Ret expression at ureteric tips. Thus Dicer, and by inference Dicer-dependent miRNA activity, have distinct regulatory roles within different components of the developing mouse kidney. Furthermore, an understanding of miRNA action may provide new insights into the etiology and pathogenesis of renal cyst-based kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3214622  PMID: 20944551
branching morphogenesis; Dicer; miRNA; nephron progenitors; primary cilium; renal cyst
3.  A high-resolution anatomical ontology of the developing murine genitourinary tract 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2007;7(6):680-699.
Cataloguing gene expression during development of the genitourinary tract will increase our understanding not only of this process but also of congenital defects and disease affecting this organ system. We have developed a high-resolution ontology with which to describe the subcompartments of the developing murine genitourinary tract. This ontology incorporates what can be defined histologically and begins to encompass other structures and cell types already identified at the molecular level. The ontology is being used to annotate in situ hybridisation data generated as part of the Genitourinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP), a publicly available data resource on gene and protein expression during genitourinary development. The GUDMAP ontology encompasses Theiler stage (TS) 17 to 27 of development as well as the sexually mature adult. It has been written as a partonomic, text-based, hierarchical ontology that, for the embryological stages, has been developed as a high-resolution expansion of the existing Edinburgh Mouse Atlas Project (EMAP) ontology. It also includes group terms for well-characterised structural and/or functional units comprising several sub-structures, such as the nephron and juxtaglomerular complex. Each term has been assigned a unique identification number. Synonyms have been used to improve the success of query searching and maintain wherever possible existing EMAP terms relating to this organ system. We describe here the principles and structure of the ontology and provide representative diagrammatic, histological, and whole mount and section RNA in situ hybridisation images to clarify the terms used within the ontology. Visual examples of how terms appear in different specimen types are also provided.
PMCID: PMC2117077  PMID: 17452023
genitourinary development; renal development; kidney development; urinary development; reproductive development; kidney; gonad; bladder; ureter; urethra; genital tubercle; ovary; testis; congenital defects; gene expression; ontology; annotation; database; anatomy; atlas of development; partonomic ontology; RNA in situ hybridisation

Results 1-3 (3)