Morphogenesis of the kidney and lung requires branch-tip directed activity of the Adamts18 metalloprotease

Elisabeth A. Rutledge, Riana K. Parvez, Kieran M. Short, Ian M. Smyth, Andrew P. McMahon

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Adamts18 encodes a secreted metalloprotease restricted to branch-tip progenitor pools directing the morphogenesis of multiple mammalian organs. Adamts18 was targeted to explore a potential role in branching morphogenesis. In the kidney, an arborized collecting system develops through extensive branching morphogenesis of an initial epithelial outgrowth of the mesonephric duct, the ureteric bud. Adamts18 mutants displayed a weakly penetrant phenotype: duplicated ureteric outgrowths forming enlarged, bi-lobed kidneys with an increased nephron endowment. In contrast, Adamts18 mutants showed a fully penetrant lung phenotype: epithelial growth was markedly reduced and early secondary branching scaled to the reduced length of the primary airways. Furthermore, there was a pronounced delay in the appearance of differentiated cell types in both proximal and distally positions of the developing airways. Adamts18 is closely related to Adamts16. In the kidney but not the lung, broad epithelial Adamts16 expression overlaps Adamts18 in branch tips. However, compound Adamts16/18 mutants displayed a comparable low penetrance duplicated ureteric phenotype, ruling out a possible role for Adamts16 as a functional modifier of the Adamts18 kidney phenotype. Given the predicted action of secreted Adamts18 metalloprotease, and broad expression of Adamts18 in branching organ systems, these findings suggest distinct requirements for matrix modelling in the morphogenesis of epithelial networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-169
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019


  • Adamts18
  • Airways
  • Branching morphogenesis
  • Collecting duct
  • Kidney and lung
  • Metalloprotease

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