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Science spotlight: SOX9 switch for kidney regeneration, improved base editors and more

ARTICLE | Discovery & Translation

BioCentury’s roundup of translational innovations

By Danielle Golovin, Senior Biopharma Analyst, and BioCentury Staff

February 29, 2024 1:08 AM UTC

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center researchers and collaborators discovered a “SOX9 switch” in kidney cells regenerating from injury that could be targeted to decrease post-injury fibrosis and subsequent chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. 

In the Science paper, the authors showed that regenerating kidney cells temporarily activate SOX9 for efficient healing, but failure to subsequently inactivate SOX9 promotes fibrosis and long-term injury. Kidney cells unable to inactivate SOX9 after repair express WNT secretory proteins and CDH6, which promote adjacent fibroblast proliferation. In mouse model models of acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease, genetic knockout of the WNT proteins in the SOX9+ cells decreased kidney fibrosis and injury. …