Chromatin remodelers interact with Eya1 and Six2 to target enhancers to control nephron progenitor cell maintenance

Jun Li, Jinshu Xu, Huihui Jiang, Ting Zhang, Aarthi Ramakrishnan, Li Shen, Pin Xian Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background Eya1 is a critical regulator of nephron progenitor cell specification and interacts with Six2 to promote NPC self-renewal. Haploinsufficiency of these genes causes kidney hypoplasia. However, how the Eya1-centered network operates remains unknown. Methods We engineered a 23HA-33Flag-Eya1 knock-in mouse line and performed coimmunoprecipitation with anti-HA or -Flag to precipitate the multitagged-Eya1 and its associated proteins. Loss-of-function, transcriptome profiling, and genome-wide binding analyses for Eya1's interacting chromatin-remodeling ATPase Brg1 were carried out. We assayed the activity of the cis-regulatory elements co-occupied by Brg1/Six2 in vivo. Results Eya1 and Six2 interact with the Brg1-based SWI/SNF complex during kidney development. Knockout of Brg1 results in failure of metanephric mesenchyme formation and depletion of nephron progenitors, which has been linked to loss of Eya1 expression. Transcriptional profiling shows conspicuous downregulation of important regulators for nephrogenesis in Brg1-deficient cells, including Lin28, Pbx1, and Dchs1-Fat4 signaling, but upregulation of podocyte lineage, oncogenic, and cell death-inducing genes, many of which Brg1 targets. Genome-wide binding analysis identifies Brg1 occupancy to a distal enhancer of Eya1 that drives nephron progenitor-specific expression. We demonstrate that Brg1 enrichment to two distal intronic enhancers of Pbx1 and a proximal promoter region of Mycn requires Six2 activity and that these Brg1/Six2-bound enhancers govern nephron progenitor-specific expression in response to Six2 activity. Conclusions Our results reveal an essential role for Brg1, its downstream pathways, and its interaction with Eya1-Six2 in mediating the fine balance among the self-renewal, differentiation, and survival of nephron progenitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2815-2833
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


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