Localization of connexin 30 in the luminal membrane of cells in the distal nephron

Fiona McCulloch, Régine Chambrey, Dominique Eladari, János Peti-Peterdi
American Journal of Physiology. Renal Physiology 2005, 289 (6): F1304-12
Several isoforms of the gap junction protein connexin (Cx) have been identified in a variety of tissues that communicate intercellular signals between adjacent cells. In the kidney, Cx37, Cx40, and Cx43 are localized in the vasculature, glomerulus, and tubular segments in a punctuate pattern, typical of classic gap junction channels. We performed immunohistochemistry in the mouse, rat, and rabbit kidney to study the localization of Cx30 protein, a new member of the Cx family. The vasculature, glomerulus, and proximal nephron segments were devoid of staining in all three species. Unexpectedly, Cx30 was found throughout the luminal membrane of select cells in the distal nephron. Expression of Cx30 was highest in the rat, which also showed some diffuse cytosolic labeling, continuous from the medullary thick ascending limb to the collecting duct system, and with the highest level in the distal convoluted tubule. Labeling in the mouse and rabbit was much less, limited to intercalated cells in the connecting segment and cortical collecting duct, where the apical signal was particularly strong. A high-salt-containing diet and culture medium upregulated Cx30 expression in the rat inner medulla and in M1 cells, respectively. The distinct, continuous labeling of the luminal plasma membrane and upregulation by high salt suggest that Cx30 may function as a hemichannel involved in the regulation of salt reabsorption in the distal nephron.

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