Video_1_SLC20A1 Is Involved in Urinary Tract and Urorectal Development.MOV
Previous studies in developing Xenopus and zebrafish reported that the phosphate transporter slc20a1a is expressed in pronephric kidneys. The recent identification of SLC20A1 as a monoallelic candidate gene for cloacal exstrophy further suggests its involvement in the urinary tract and urorectal development. However, little is known of the functional role of SLC20A1 in urinary tract development. Here, we investigated this using morpholino oligonucleotide knockdown of the zebrafish ortholog slc20a1a. This caused kidney cysts and malformations of the cloaca. Moreover, in morphants we demonstrated dysfunctional voiding and hindgut opening defects mimicking imperforate anus in human cloacal exstrophy. Furthermore, we performed immunohistochemistry of an unaffected 6-week-old human embryo and detected SLC20A1 in the urinary tract and the abdominal midline, structures implicated in the pathogenesis of cloacal exstrophy. Additionally, we resequenced SLC20A1 in 690 individuals with bladder exstrophy-epispadias complex (BEEC) including 84 individuals with cloacal exstrophy. We identified two additional monoallelic de novo variants. One was identified in a case-parent trio with classic bladder exstrophy, and one additional novel de novo variant was detected in an affected mother who transmitted this variant to her affected son. To study the potential cellular impact of SLC20A1 variants, we expressed them in HEK293 cells. Here, phosphate transport was not compromised, suggesting that it is not a disease mechanism. However, there was a tendency for lower levels of cleaved caspase-3, perhaps implicating apoptosis pathways in the disease. Our results suggest SLC20A1 is involved in urinary tract and urorectal development and implicate SLC20A1 as a disease-gene for BEEC.