Seminars in cell & developmental biology

Pax genes in renal development, disease and regeneration.

PMID 26410163


The execution of developmental programs entails specific spatio-temporal expression of transcriptional regulators that ultimately control tissue morphogenesis and embryo patterning. Pax transcription factors are sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins exerting such regulatory activity in several tissues. In the urogenital system, Pax2 and Pax8 have emerged as crucial players at multiple steps of kidney and urinary tract development. They are involved in important processes such as cell survival, cell lineage decisions and tissue interactions through the regulation of sophisticated gene regulatory networks. Pax2/8 have additionally been directly associated with Congenital Anomalies of the Kidney and Urinary Tract (CAKUT) and renal cancers in human. In this review, we provide an overview of landmark contributions to the understanding of Pax gene function in urinary tract development and disease with an emphasis on recent advances in the field.