research focuses on kidney development and the differentiation
of renal cell types. Our
The zebrafish offers many experimental
advantages for studies of kidney development. The zebrafish pronephros
is a remarkably simple kidney, consisting of only two nephrons with glomeruli
fused at the midline, pronephric tubules connecting directly to the glomeruli
via a neck segment, and paired bilateral pronephric ducts which convey
the blood filtrate outside the animal.
Pronephric anatomy >>
Read current literature on the pronephros >>
studies have shown that zebrafish kidney mutants affect several of
the principle aspects of nephrogenesis including 1) nephron patterning,
2) epithelial membrane protein trafficking, 3) ciliogenesis, 4) podocyte
maturation, vascularization, and filtration in the glomerulus.
As a model of
human kidney disease, pronephric mutant phenotypes are relevant to
cystic kidney disease and nephropathy /proteinuria. Our most recent
work has demonstrated a role for cilia in fluid movement not only in
also in the brain to circulate CSF and in Kupffer's vesicle to maintain
counterclockwise flow associated with left-right asymetry.
zebrafish cilia movies
and kidney cystic disease
Mutations in ciliogenic
genes and kidney cyst formation
Cilia formation and axonemal
transport are important but incompletely understood aspects
of a variety of disorders including kidney cystic disease,
hydrocephalus, retinal degeneration, obesity, and hedgehog signaling.
Zebrafish provide a useful model for studying these disorders. More >>
podocyte differentiation and
function requires the formation of specialized cell junctions
Slit-diaphragms are ladder-like
cell-cell junctions between podocyte foot processes. Blood
plasma is filtered as it passes between foot processes and through
the slit-diaphragm. Slit-diaphragm proteins implicated in human
disease function similarly in zebrafish pronephric podocytes. More >>
The pronephros is a segmented
Different segments of the
pronephros are distinct in terms of cell morphology, function
and expression of ion transporters.
Nephron patterning events involving transcription factors
restrict podocyte, tubule, and cell fates to their appropriate
positions in the nephron.