Renal carcinoma/kidney progenitor cell chimera organoid as a novel tumorigenesis gene discovery model

Qi Xu, Sanna Junttila, Andreas Scherer, Khem Raj Giri, Oona Kivelä, Ilya Skovorodkin, Juha Röning, Susan E. Quaggin, Hans Peter Marti, Jingdong Shan, Anatoly Samoylenko*, Seppo J. Vainio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional (3D) organoids provide a new way to model various diseases, including cancer. We made use of recently developed kidney-organ-primordia tissue-engineering technologies to create novel renal organoids for cancer gene discovery. We then tested whether our novel assays can be used to examine kidney cancer development. First, we identified the transcriptomic profiles of quiescent embryonic mouse metanephric mesenchyme (MM) and of MM in which the nephrogenesis program had been induced ex vivo. The transcriptome profiles were then compared to the profiles of tumor biopsies from renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients, and control samples from the same kidneys. Certain signature genes were identified that correlated in the developmentally induced MM and RCC, including components of the caveolar-mediated endocytosis signaling pathway. An efficient siRNA-mediated knockdown (KD) of Bnip3, Gsn, Lgals3, Pax8, Cav1, Egfr or Itgb2 gene expression was achieved in mouse RCC (Renca) cells. The live-cell imaging analysis revealed inhibition of cell migration and cell viability in the gene-KD Renca cells in comparison to Renca controls. Upon siRNA treatment, the transwell invasion capacity of Renca cells was also inhibited. Finally, we mixed E11.5 MM with yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)- expressing Renca cells to establish chimera organoids. Strikingly, we found that the Bnip3-, Cav1- and Gsn-KD Renca-YFP+ cells as a chimera with the MM in 3D organoid rescued, in part, the RCCmediated inhibition of the nephrogenesis program during epithelial tubules formation. Altogether, our research indicates that comparing renal ontogenesis control genes to the genes involved in kidney cancer may provide new growth-associated gene screens and that 3D RCC-MM chimera organoids can serve as a novel model with which to investigate the behavioral roles of cancer cells within the context of emergent complex tissue structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1503-1515
Number of pages13
JournalDMM Disease Models and Mechanisms
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Gene expression
  • Nephrogenesis
  • RCC
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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