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      Differentiation-Induced Cultured Podocytes Express Endocytically Active Megalin, a Heymann Nephritis Antigen

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          Background/Aims: Megalin is a multiligand endocytic receptor expressed in a number of epithelia. In the Lewis rat kidney, podocytes, as well as proximal tubule cells, express megalin that acts as a pathogenic antigen for Heymann nephritis (HN), an experimental model of membranous nephropathy. To obtain a tool to investigate the molecular mechanisms of megalin-mediated endocytosis and the pathogenesis of HN, we examined whether a differentiation-inducible mouse podocyte cell line expressed endocytically active megalin. Methods: Immunofluorescence and immunoprecipitation analyses with an anti-rat megalin antibody were carried out to investigate whether megalin was expressed in the differentiated and undifferentiated podocytes. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis was performed to elucidate whether the cells synthesize megalin mRNA. <sup>125</sup>I-labeled receptor-associated protein (RAP), an endocytic ligand for megalin, was used for cellular internalization and degradation assays. Results: Immunofluorescence, immunoprecipitation and RT-PCR analyses revealed that megalin was synthesized in both differentiated and undifferentiated cells and localized to the cell surfaces. Effective endocytosis of RAP via megalin was shown under the differentiated condition. Conclusion: Endocytically active megalin is expressed in differentiation-induced cultured podocytes. This cell line could be a useful tool for studies on megalin-mediated endocytosis and the pathogenesis of HN.

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          Most cited references 6

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          An endocytic pathway essential for renal uptake and activation of the steroid 25-(OH) vitamin D3.

          Steroid hormones may enter cells by diffusion through the plasma membrane. However, we demonstrate here that some steroid hormones are taken up by receptor-mediated endocytosis of steroid-carrier complexes. We show that 25-(OH) vitamin D3 in complex with its plasma carrier, the vitamin D-binding protein, is filtered through the glomerulus and reabsorbed in the proximal tubules by the endocytic receptor megalin. Endocytosis is required to preserve 25-(OH) vitamin D3 and to deliver to the cells the precursor for generation of 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D3, a regulator of the calcium metabolism. Megalin-/- mice are unable to retrieve the steroid from the glomerular filtrate and develop vitamin D deficiency and bone disease.
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            Immunocytochemical localization of the Heymann nephritis antigen (GP330) in glomerular epithelial cells of normal Lewis rats

            The nephritogenic antigen of Heymann's nephritis (HN) was previously purified from tubular brush-border fractions of rat kidney and found to be a 330,000- mol-wt glycoprotein (gp330). This study was conducted to determine whether gp330 is also present in the rat glomerulus, and, if so, to establish where in the glomerulus it is located. Rabbit polyclonal and mouse monoclonal antibodies were raised against purified gp330, which specifically immunoprecipitated gp330 from solubilized brush-border fractions and specifically stained microvilli and coated invaginations (located at the base of the microvilli) of proximal tubule cells. Accordingly, they were used to localize gp330 by immunoprecipitation and immunocytochemistry in glomeruli of normal Lewis rats. For immunoprecipitation, purified glomerular fractions were prepared from [(35)S]-methionine-labeled kidneys, extracted with Triton X-100, and the extract was used for immunoprecipitation with affinity-purified rabbit polyclonal, or mouse monoclonal, anti-gp330 IgG. Analysis of immunoprecipitates by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis fluorography indicated that a band corresponding in mobility to gp330 was specifically precipitated. When unfixed cryostat sections were incubated for indirect immunofluorescence with monoclonal or affinity-purified polyclonal IgG, a fine granular fluorescent staining was seen throughout the glomerulus. When aldehyde-fixed cryostat sections were incubated for indirect immunoperoxidase, reaction product was detected only in the epithelial cells and was not seen in the GBM, endothelium, or mesangium. Within the epithelium it was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum, occasional Golgi elements, multivesicular bodies, and coated pits at the cell surface. The reactive coated pits were distributed all along the cell membrane, including the sides and base of the foot processes. Reaction product was detected in the latter location only in sections that had been digested with neuraminidase before antibody incubation. When rats were given rabbit anti-gp330 IgG by intravenous injection and their kidneys stained for direct immunoperoxidase 3 d later, rabbit IgG was seen to be deposited beneath the slit diaphragms and in the coated pits at the base of the foot processes. The immunocytochemical and immunoprecipitation data indicate, in confirmation of the results of others, that the nephritogenic HN antigen is present in renal glomeruli as well as in proximal tubular brush borders. The immunocytochemical results further demonstrate that gp330 is an epithelial, rather than a glomerular basement membrane, antigen. It appears to be synthesized by glomerular epithelial cells and subsequently becomes concentrated in coated pits. As both the endogenous antigen (gp330) and exogenously administered anti-gp330 antibody were localized to coated pits, it seems likely that coated pits located at the base of the foot processes are the sites where the HN antigen (gp330) and circulating antibodies directed against gp330 meet and where immune complexes are formed.
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              Cytosolic adaptor protein Dab2 is an intracellular ligand of endocytic receptor gp600/megalin.

              gp600/megalin, an endocytic receptor, belongs to the low-density lipoprotein receptor family. It is most abundant in the renal proximal tubular cells, where it is implicated in the reabsorption of a number of molecules filtered through the glomerulus. The cytoplasmic tail (CT) of gp600/megalin contains a number of sequence similarities, which indicate that gp600/megalin might be involved in signal transduction. To find intracellular proteins that would interact with the gp600/megalin CT, a human kidney cDNA library was screened by using the yeast two-hybrid system. The phosphotyrosine interaction domain (PID) of the Disabled protein 2 (Dab2), a mammalian structural analogue of Drosophila Disabled, was found to bind to the gp600/megalin CT in this system. The interaction between these two proteins was confirmed by a binding assay in vitro and by the co-immunoprecipitation of both proteins from renal cell lysates. The gp600/megalin CT contains three PsiXNPXY motifs (in which Psi represents a hydrophobic residue) that are potentially able to interact with PID. Analysis of the CT deletion and point-mutation variants of gp600/megalin by the two-hybrid system revealed that the third PsiXNPXY motif is most probably involved in this interaction. Dab2 is a mitogen-responsive phosphoprotein thought to be an adaptor molecule involved in signal transduction, and a suggested negative regulator of cell growth. Dab2 is the first intracellular ligand identified for gp600/megalin; gp600/megalin is the first known transmembrane receptor that interacts with the cytosolic protein Dab2. We speculate that their interaction might involve gp600/megalin in signal transduction pathways or might mediate the intracellular trafficking of this receptor.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Exp Nephrol
                Cardiorenal Medicine
                S. Karger AG
                February 2004
                17 November 2004
                : 96
                : 2
                : e52-e58
                aDivision of Clinical Nephrology and Rheumatology, bDepartment of Applied Molecular Medicine, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata, and cDepartment of Anatomy, Ehime University School of Medicine, Ehime, Japan; dDivision of Nephrology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y., USA
                76404 Nephron Exp Nephrol 2004;96:e52–e58
                © 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel

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