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    T-box (Tbx) genes encode an ancient group of transcription factors that play important roles in patterning, specification, proliferation, and differentiation programs in vertebrate organogenesis. This is testified by severe organ malformation syndromes in mice homozygous for engineered null alleles of specific T-box genes and by the large number of human inherited organ-specific diseases that have been linked to mutations in these genes. One of the organ systems that has not been associated with loss of specific T-box gene function in human disease for long is the excretory system. However, this has changed with the finding that mutations in TBX18, a member of a vertebrate-specific subgroup within the Tbx1-subfamily of T-box transcription factor genes, cause congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract, predominantly hydroureter and ureteropelvic junction obstruction. Gene expression analyses, loss-of-function studies, and lineage tracing in the mouse suggest a primary role for this transcription factor in specifying the ureteric mesenchyme in the common anlage of the kidney, the ureter, and the bladder. We review the function of Tbx18 in ureterogenesis and discuss the body of evidence that Tbx18 and other members of the T-box gene family, namely, Tbx1, Tbx2, Tbx3, and Tbx20, play additional roles in development and homeostasis of other components of the excretory system in vertebrates. © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    A Kispert. T-Box Genes in the Kidney and Urinary Tract. Current topics in developmental biology. 2017;122:245-278

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    PMID: 28057266

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