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The prevalence of kidney diseases is growing rapidly due to an aging population and an increased incidence of diseases like diabetes. Moreover, congenital anomalies of the kidney are among the most frequently occurring birth defects and play crucial causative roles in the development of renal diseases.

Currently, the only treatments for these diseases are dialysis and transplantation, which are insufficient and expensive with a higher mortality rate than in most cancers.

Development of new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for renal diseases requires detailed knowledge of the mechanisms regulating kidney development. Significant advances were made in recent research in University of Helsinki where MAPK pathway, of which aberrations are linked to many types of cancers, was identified as a key regulator of the final nephron number in a mature kidney.

MAPK pathway mediates extracellular growth factor stimuli to the cell interior. It has functions in both the cell nucleus, where it controls DNA by binding to target regions, and in the cytosol, where it regulates activities of many different proteins.

A study now published in Stem Cell Reports shows that MAPK activity is not only required for the normal proliferation and differentiation of nephron progenitors, but it also mediates crucial

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