The current strategy to detect acute injury of kidney tubular cells relies on changes in serum levels of creatinine. Yet serum creatinine (sCr) is a marker of both functional and pathological processes and does not adequately assay tubular injury. In addition, sCr may require days to reach diagnostic thresholds, yet tubular cells respond with programs of damage and repair within minutes or hours. To detect acute responses to clinically relevant stimuli, we created mice expressing Rosa26-floxed-stop uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (Uprt) and inoculated 4-thiouracil (4-TU) to tag nascent RNA at selected time points. Cre-driven 4-TU–tagged RNA was isolated from intact kidneys and demonstrated that volume depletion and ischemia induced different genetic programs in collecting ducts and intercalated cells. Even lineage-related cell types expressed different genes in response to the 2 stressors. TU tagging also demonstrated the transient nature of the responses. Because we placed Uprt in the ubiquitously active Rosa26 locus, nascent RNAs from many cell types can be tagged in vivo and their roles interrogated under various conditions. In short, 4-TU labeling identifies stimulus-specific, cell-specific, and time-dependent acute responses that are otherwise difficult to detect with other technologies and are entirely obscured when sCr is the sole metric of kidney damage.
Tian Huai Shen, Jacob Stauber, Katherine Xu, Alexandra Jacunski, Neal Paragas, Miriam Callahan, Run Banlengchit, Abraham D. Levitman, Beatriz Desanti De Oliveira, Andrew Beenken, Madeleine S. Grau, Edwin Mathieu, Qingyin Zhang, Yuanji Li, Tejashree Gopal, Nathaniel Askanase, Siddarth Arumugam, Sumit Mohan, Pamela I. Good, Jacob S. Stevens, Fangming Lin, Samuel K. Sia, Chyuan-Sheng Lin, Vivette D’Agati, Krzysztof Kiryluk, Nicholas P. Tatonetti, Jonathan Barasch