Combined deletion ofVhl,Trp53andKif3acauses cystic and neoplastic renal lesions

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The von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) tumour suppressor gene is bi-allelically inactivated in the majority of cases of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC); however, Vhl knockout mouse models do not recapitulate human ccRCC, implying that additional mutations are required for tumour formation. Mutational inactivation of VHL sensitises renal epithelial cells to lose the primary cilium in response to other mutations or extracellular stimuli. Loss of cilia is believed to represent a second hit in VHL mutant cells that causes the development of cystic lesions that, in some cases, can progress to ccRCC. Supporting this idea, genetic ablation of the primary cilium by deletion of the kinesin family member 3A (Kif3a) gene cooperates with loss of Vhl to accelerate cyst formation in mouse kidneys. Additionally, aged Vhl/Trp53 double-mutant mice develop renal cysts and tumours at a relatively low incidence, suggesting that there is a genetic cooperation between VHL and TP53 mutation in the development of ccRCC. Here we generated renal epithelium-specific Kif3a/Trp53 and Vhl/Kif3a/Trp53 mutant mice to investigate whether primary cilium deletion would accelerate the development of cystic precursor lesions or cause their progression to ccRCC. Longitudinal microcomputed tomography (μCT) imaging and histopathological analyses revealed an increased rate of cyst formation, increased proportion of cysts with proliferating cells, higher frequency of atypical cysts as well as the development of neoplasms in Vhl/Kif3a/Trp53 mutant kidneys compared to Kif3a/Trp53 or Vhl/Kif3a mutant kidneys. These findings demonstrate that primary cilium loss, in addition to Vhl and Trp53 losses, promotes the transition towards malignancy and provide further evidence that the primary cilium functions as a tumour suppressor organelle in the kidney. Copyright © 2016 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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