Kidney diseases affect more than 15% of adults in the US, yet drug development in the kidney field, when compared with that for other common diseases, has been lagging behind. Modifiers that increase the susceptibility to injury and contribute to the pathogenesis and progression of kidney disease include genetic and environmental factors and epigenetic mechanisms. In this issue of the JCI, Cao et al. and Doke et al. independently report the identification of a susceptibility factor called Dachshund homolog 1 (DACH1). Both groups identify an association of reduced DACH1 expression with kidney disease, using different screening approaches, studying different types of human kidney diseases, and using different experimental models, making the fact that both stumbled over the same protein very compelling. Combined, these studies highlight DACH1 as a key safeguard in the kidney, granting various cell types proper function by modulating several molecular pathways.
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