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BACKGROUND: GATA3 is a dual-zinc finger transcription factor that regulates gene expression in many developing tissues. In the kidney, GATA3 is essential for ureteric bud branching, and mice without it fail to develop kidneys. In humans, autosomal dominant GATA3 mutations can cause renal aplasia as part of the hypoparathyroidism, renal dysplasia, deafness (HDR) syndrome that includes mesangioproliferative GN. This suggests that GATA3 may have a previously unrecognized role in glomerular development or injury. METHODS: To determine GATA3's role in glomerular development or injury, we assessed GATA3 expression in developing and mature kidneys from Gata3 heterozygous (+/-) knockout mice, as well as injured human and rodent kidneys. RESULTS: We show that GATA3 is expressed by FOXD1 lineage stromal progenitor cells, and a subset of these cells mature into mesangial cells (MCs) that continue to express GATA3 in adult kidneys. In mice, we uncover that GATA3 is essential for normal glomerular development, and mice with haploinsufficiency of Gata3 have too few MC precursors and glomerular abnormalities. Expression of GATA3 is maintained in MCs of adult kidneys and is markedly increased in rodent models of mesangioproliferative GN and in IgA nephropathy, suggesting that GATA3 plays a critical role in the maintenance of glomerular homeostasis. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide new insights on the role GATA3 plays in MC development and response to injury. It also shows that GATA3 may be a novel and robust nuclear marker for identifying MCs in tissue sections.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Soc Nephrol

Publication Date





1641 - 1658


GATA3, IgA nephropathy, kidney development, transcription factors