Kruppel-like transcription factor 5 (Klf5) was detected in the developing and mature murine bladder urothelium. Herein we report a critical role of KLF5 in the formation and terminal differentiation of the urothelium. The ShhGfpCre transgene was used to delete the Klf5floxed alleles from bladder epithelial cells causing prenatal hydronephrosis, hydroureter, and vesicoureteric reflux. The bladder urothelium failed to stratify and did not express terminal differentiation markers characteristic of basal, intermediate, and umbrella cells including keratins 20, 14, and 5, and the uroplakins. The effects of Klf5 deletion were unique to the developing bladder epithelium since maturation of the epithelium comprising the bladder neck and urethra was unaffected by the lack of KLF5. mRNA analysis identified reductions in Pparγ, Grhl3, Elf3, and Ovol1expression in Klf5 deficient fetal bladders supporting their participation in a transcriptional network regulating bladder urothelial differentiation. KLF5 regulated expression of the mGrhl3 promoter in transient transfection assays. The absence of urothelial Klf5 altered epithelial-mesenchymal signaling leading to the formation of an ectopic alpha smooth muscle actin positive layer of cells subjacent to the epithelium and a thinner detrusor muscle that was not attributable to disruption of SHH signaling, a known mediator of detrusor morphogenesis. Deletion of Klf5 from the developing bladder urothelium blocked epithelial cell differentiation, impaired bladder morphogenesis and function causing hydroureter and hydronephrosis at birth. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
Bell, S. M., Zhang, L., Mendell, A., Xu, Y., Haitchi, H. M., Lessard, J. L., & Whitsett, J. A. (2011). Kruppel-like factor 5 is required for formation and differentiation of the bladder urothelium. Developmental Biology, 358(1), 79–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.07.020