Mutations that disrupt centrosome biogenesis or function cause congenital kidney developmental defects and fibrocystic pathologies. Yet, how centrosome dysfunction results in the kidney disease phenotypes remains unknown. Here, we examined the consequences of conditional knockout of the ciliopathy gene Cep120, essential for centrosome duplication, in the nephron and collecting duct progenitor niches of the mouse embryonic kidney. Cep120 loss led to reduced abundance of both cap mesenchyme and ureteric bud populations, due to a combination of delayed mitosis, increased apoptosis, and premature differentiation of progenitor cells. These defects resulted in dysplastic kidneys at birth, which rapidly formed cysts, displayed increased interstitial fibrosis, and decline in kidney function. RNA sequencing of embryonic and postnatal kidneys from Cep120-null mice identified changes in pathways essential for development, fibrosis, and cystogenesis. Our study defines the cellular and developmental defects caused by centrosome dysfunction during kidney morphogenesis, and identifies new therapeutic targets for patients with renal centrosomopathies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • cell fate
  • centriole
  • centrosome
  • cilia
  • cystic kidney disease
  • fibrosis


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