Genetic Background is a Key Determinant of Glomerular Extracellular Matrix Composition and Organization.

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J Am Soc Nephrol 2015 Dec; 26(12):3021-34.




Glomerular disease often features altered histologic patterns of extracellular matrix (ECM). Despite this, the potential complexities of the glomerular ECM in both health and disease are poorly understood. To explore whether genetic background and sex determine glomerular ECM composition, we investigated two mouse strains, FVB and B6, using RNA microarrays of isolated glomeruli combined with proteomic glomerular ECM analyses. These studies, undertaken in healthy young adult animals, revealed unique strain- and sex-dependent glomerular ECM signatures, which correlated with variations in levels of albuminuria and known predisposition to progressive nephropathy. Among the variation, we observed changes in netrin 4, fibroblast growth factor 2, tenascin C, collagen 1, meprin 1-α, and meprin 1-β. Differences in protein abundance were validated by quantitative immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis, and the collective differences were not explained by mutations in known ECM or glomerular disease genes. Within the distinct signatures, we discovered a core set of structural ECM proteins that form multiple protein-protein interactions and are conserved from mouse to man. Furthermore, we found striking ultrastructural changes in glomerular basement membranes in FVB mice. Pathway analysis of merged transcriptomic and proteomic datasets identified potential ECM regulatory pathways involving inhibition of matrix metalloproteases, liver X receptor/retinoid X receptor, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2, notch, and cyclin-dependent kinase 5. These pathways may therefore alter ECM and confer susceptibility to disease. J Am Soc Nephrol 2015 Dec; 26(12):3021-34.