Reprograming of different cell types into podocytes

Theme 3: Tissue engineering

Prof. John Bertram

Prof. Jose Polo

Podocytes are the cells in the glomeruli responsible for blood filtration. Loss and alteration of podocytes lead to dysfunction of the glomerular filtration barrier which in turn give rise to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). CKD is estimated to affect 11-13% of the world population, eventually resulting in kidney dialysis or transplantation.  Podocytes are terminally differentiated, and they do not have a stem cell to replace them, so once they are lost there is not a regenerative process to replace them. We hypothesise that podocytes could be replenished by reprogramming means. In the same space where podocytes reside, there are two different cell types: endothelial cells and epithelial cells. In order to test this hypothesis, we will use TFs predicted by the MOGRIFY algorithm to reprogram in vitro different cells into podocytes. We will test this in mouse and human cells. The effect of the TFs in the cells as well as the degree of reprogramming will be assessed by morphological, molecular and functional characterization.

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