Role of the polarity protein Scribble for podocyte differentiation and maintenance

Björn Hartleben, Eugen Widmeier, Nicola Wanner, Miriam Schmidts, Sung Tae Kim, Lisa Schneider, Britta Mayer, Dontscho Kerjaschki, Jeffrey H. Miner, Gerd Walz, Tobias B. Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The kidney filter represents a unique assembly of podocyte epithelial cells that tightly enwrap the glomerular capillaries with their complex foot process network. While deficiency of the polarity proteins Crumbs and aPKC result in impaired podocyte foot process architecture, the function of basolateral polarity proteins for podocyte differentiation and maintenance remained unclear. Here we report, that Scribble is expressed in developing podocytes, where it translocates from the lateral aspects of immature podocytes to the basal cell membrane and foot processes of mature podocytes. Immunogold electron microscopy reveals membrane associated localisation of Scribble predominantly at the basolateral site of foot processes. To further study the role of Scribble for podocyte differentiation Scribbleflox/flox mice were generated by introducing loxP-sites into the Scribble introns 1 and 8 and these mice were crossed to NPHS2.Cre mice and Cre deleter mice. Podocyte-specific Scribble knockout mice develop normally and display no histological, ultrastructural or clinical abnormalities up to 12 months of age. In addition, no increased susceptibility to glomerular stress could be detected in these mice. In contrast, constitutive Scribble knockout animals die during embryonic development indicating the fundamental importance of Scribble for embryogenesis. Like in podocyte-specific Scribble knockout mice, the development of podocyte foot processes and the slit diaphragm was unaffected in kidney cultures from constitutive Scribble knockout animals. In summary these results indicate that basolateral polarity signaling via Scribble is dispensable for podocyte function, highlighting the unique feature of podocyte development with its significant apical membrane expansions being dominated by apical polarity complexes rather than by basolateral polarity signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere36705
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of the polarity protein Scribble for podocyte differentiation and maintenance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this