Biophysical and Biochemical Control Podocyte Differentiation
Evren U. Azeloglu, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Kidney visceral epithelial cells, or podocytes, have fine processes that interdigitate and form the highly arborized kidney filtration units called the slit diaphragm. The effacement of these foot processes lead to proteinuria and progressive kidney failure in numerous pathologies. One of the challenges in nephrology is the difficulty of generating differentiated podocytes that display the arborized morphology and specialized cell-cell junctions in vitro. Our recent work highlights the biochemical and biophysical determinants that enable primary process formation and differentiation in podocytes using dynamic modeling of signal transduction, microfabricated 3-D surfaces and electron microscope tomography.