Identification of the renal erythropoietin-producing cells using transgenic mice.
Maxwell PH., Osmond MK., Pugh CW., Heryet A., Nicholls LG., Tan CC., Doe BG., Ferguson DJ., Johnson MH., Ratcliffe PJ.
Regulation of erythropoietin production by the kidneys is central to the control of erythropoiesis. Uncertainty about the identity of the renal cells involved has been a major obstacle to understanding this mechanism. We have used sequence from the mouse erythropoietin locus to direct expression of a marker gene, SV40 T antigen, to these cells in transgenic mice. The transgenic constructs contained an oligonucleotide marker (Epo-M) or SV40 sequence (Epo-TAg) in the 5' untranslated region of the mouse erythropoietin gene, flanked on each side by 9 and 7.5 kb of DNA from the mouse erythropoietin locus. Anemia-inducible expression of Epo-M and Epo-TAg was observed in the kidney. In one of thirteen lines, homologous integration of Epo-TAg into the mouse erythropoietin locus occurred. In transgenic mice bearing Epo-TAg at homologous and heterologous insertion sites, renal expression was restricted to a population of cells in the interstitium of the cortex and outer medulla. Immunohistochemical characterization by light and electron microscopy shows that these are the fibroblast-like type I interstitial cells.