Neph1 and nephrin interaction in the slit diaphragm is an important determinant of glomerular permeability.
ABSTRACT: Neph1-deficient mice develop nephrotic syndrome at birth, indicating the importance of this protein in the development of a normal glomerular filtration barrier. While the precise subcellular localization of Neph1 remains unknown, its relationship with other components of the glomerular filtration barrier is of great interest in this field. In this paper, we localize the expression of Neph1 to the glomerular slit diaphragm by immunogold electron microscopy in rodents and describe its direct interaction with two other components of the slit diaphragm, nephrin and ZO-1. Both native and recombinant Neph1 associate with each other as dimers and multimers and interact with nephrin via their extracellular segments. Disruption of the Neph1-nephrin interaction in vivo by injecting combinations of individual subnephritogenic doses of anti-Neph1 and anti-nephrin results in complement- and leukocyte-independent proteinuria with preserved foot processes. This disruption modestly reduces Neph1 and nephrin protein expression in podocytes and dramatically reduces ZO-1 protein expression via the interaction of ZO-1 PDZ domains with the cytoplasmic tail of Neph1, independent of changes in mRNA expression of all three genes. The interaction between nephrin and Neph1 is specific and not shared by either protein with P-cadherin, another integral slit diaphragm protein. The interaction between nephrin and Neph1 therefore appears to be an important determinant of glomerular permeability.
Project description:Glomerular injury is often characterized by the effacement of podocytes, loss of slit diaphragms, and proteinuria. Renal ischemia or the loss of blood flow to the kidneys has been widely associated with tubular and endothelial injury but rarely has been shown to induce podocyte damage and disruption of the slit diaphragm. In this study, we have used an in vivo rat ischemic model to demonstrate that renal ischemia induces podocyte effacement with loss of slit diaphragm and proteinuria. Biochemical analysis of the ischemic glomerulus shows that ischemia induces rapid loss of interaction between slit diaphragm junctional proteins Neph1 and ZO-1. To further understand the effect of ischemia on molecular interactions between slit diaphragm proteins, a cell culture model was employed to study the binding between Neph1 and ZO-1. Under physiologic conditions, Neph1 co-localized with ZO-1 at cell-cell contacts in cultured human podocytes. Induction of injury by ATP depletion resulted in rapid loss of Neph1 and ZO-1 binding and redistribution of Neph1 and ZO-1 proteins from cell membrane to the cytoplasm. Recovery resulted in increased Neph1 tyrosine phosphorylation, restoring Neph1 and ZO-1 binding and their localization at the cell membrane. We further demonstrate that tyrosine phosphorylation of Neph1 mediated by Fyn results in significantly increased Neph1 and ZO-1 binding, suggesting a critical role for Neph1 tyrosine phosphorylation in reorganizing the Neph1-ZO-1 complex. This study documents that renal ischemia induces dynamic changes in the molecular interactions between slit diaphragm proteins, leading to podocyte damage and proteinuria.
Project description:The kidney filter represents a unique assembly of podocyte epithelial cells that tightly enwrap the glomerular capillaries with their foot processes and the interposed slit diaphragm. So far, very little is known about the guidance cues and polarity signals required to regulate proper development and maintenance of the glomerular filtration barrier. We now identify Par3, Par6, and atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) polarity proteins as novel Neph1-Nephrin-associated proteins. The interaction was mediated through the PDZ domain of Par3 and conserved carboxyl terminal residues in Neph1 and Nephrin. Par3, Par6, and aPKC localized to the slit diaphragm as shown in immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy. Consistent with a critical role for aPKC activity in podocytes, inhibition of glomerular aPKC activity with a pseudosubstrate inhibitor resulted in a loss of regular podocyte foot process architecture. These data provide an important link between cell recognition mediated through the Neph1-Nephrin complex and Par-dependent polarity signaling and suggest that this molecular interaction is essential for establishing the three-dimensional architecture of podocytes at the kidney filtration barrier.
Project description:The nephron is the basic structural and functional unit of the vertebrate kidney. It is composed of a glomerulus, the site of ultrafiltration, and a renal tubule, along which the filtrate is modified. Although widely regarded as a vertebrate adaptation, 'nephron-like' features can be found in the excretory systems of many invertebrates, raising the possibility that components of the vertebrate excretory system were inherited from their invertebrate ancestors. Here we show that the insect nephrocyte has remarkable anatomical, molecular and functional similarity to the glomerular podocyte, a cell in the vertebrate kidney that forms the main size-selective barrier as blood is ultrafiltered to make urine. In particular, both cell types possess a specialized filtration diaphragm, known as the slit diaphragm in podocytes or the nephrocyte diaphragm in nephrocytes. We find that fly (Drosophila melanogaster) orthologues of the major constituents of the slit diaphragm, including nephrin, NEPH1 (also known as KIRREL), CD2AP, ZO-1 (TJP1) and podocin, are expressed in the nephrocyte and form a complex of interacting proteins that closely mirrors the vertebrate slit diaphragm complex. Furthermore, we find that the nephrocyte diaphragm is completely lost in flies lacking the orthologues of nephrin or NEPH1-a phenotype resembling loss of the slit diaphragm in the absence of either nephrin (as in human congenital nephrotic syndrome of the Finnish type, NPHS1) or NEPH1. These changes markedly impair filtration function in the nephrocyte. The similarities we describe between invertebrate nephrocytes and vertebrate podocytes provide evidence suggesting that the two cell types are evolutionarily related, and establish the nephrocyte as a simple model in which to study podocyte biology and podocyte-associated diseases.
Project description:Targeting protein-protein interaction (PPI) is rapidly becoming an attractive alternative for drug development. While drug development commonly involves inhibiting a PPI, in this study, we show that stabilizing PPI may also be therapeutically beneficial. Junctional proteins Neph1 and ZO-1 and their interaction is an important determinant of the structural integrity of slit diaphragm, which is a critical component of kidney's filtration system. Since injury induces loss of this interaction, we hypothesized that strengthening this interaction may protect kidney's filtration barrier and preserve kidney function. In this study, Neph1-ZO-1 structural complex was screened for the presence of small druggable pockets formed from contributions from both proteins. One such pocket was identified and screened using a small molecule library. Isodesmosine (ISD) a rare naturally occurring amino acid and a biomarker for pulmonary arterial hypertension was selected as the best candidate and to establish the proof of concept, its ability to enhance Neph1-CD and ZO-1 binding was tested. Results from biochemical binding analysis showed that ISD enhanced Neph1 and ZO-1 interaction under in vitro and in vivo conditions. Importantly, ISD treated podocytes were resistant to injury-induced loss of transepithelial permeability. Finally, mouse and zebrafish studies show that ISD protects from injury-induced renal damage.
Project description:MAGI-1 is a multidomain cytosolic scaffolding protein that in the kidney is specifically located at the podocyte slit diaphragm, a specialized junction that is universally injured in proteinuric diseases. There it interacts with several essential molecules, including nephrin and neph1, which are required for slit diaphragm formation and as an intracellular signaling hub. Here, we show that diminished MAGI-1 expression in cultured podocytes reduced nephrin and neph1 membrane localization and weakened tight junction integrity. Global magi1 knock-out mice, however, demonstrated normal glomerular histology and function into adulthood. We hypothesized that a second mild but complementary genetic insult might induce glomerular disease susceptibility in these mice. To identify such a gene, we utilized the developing fly eye to test for functional complementation between MAGI and its binding partners. In this way, we identified diminished expression of fly Hibris (nephrin) or Roughest (neph1) as dramatically exacerbating the effects of MAGI depletion. Indeed, when these combinations were studied in mice, the addition of nephrin, but not neph1, heterozygosity to homozygous deletion of MAGI-1 resulted in spontaneous glomerulosclerosis. In cultured podocytes, MAGI-1 depletion reduced intercellular contact-induced Rap1 activation, a pathway critical for proper podocyte function. Similarly, magi1 knock-out mice showed diminished glomerular Rap1 activation, an effect dramatically enhanced by concomitant nephrin haploinsufficiency. Finally, combined overexpression of MAGI-1 and nephrin increased Rap1 activation, but not when substituting a mutant MAGI-1 that cannot bind nephrin. We conclude that the interaction between nephrin and MAGI-1 regulates Rap1 activation in podocytes to maintain long term slit diaphragm structure.
Project description:Slit diaphragms are essential components of the glomerular filtration apparatus, as changes in these junctions are the hallmark of proteinuric diseases. Slit diaphragms, considered specialized adherens junctions, contain both unique membrane proteins (e.g., nephrin, podocin, and Neph1) and typical adherens junction proteins (e.g., P-cadherin, FAT, and catenins). Whether slit diaphragms also contain tight junction proteins is unknown. Here, immunofluorescence, immunogold labeling, and cell fractionation demonstrated that rat slit diaphragms contain the tight junction proteins JAM-A (junctional adhesion molecule A), occludin, and cingulin. We found these proteins in the same protein complexes as nephrin, podocin, CD2AP, ZO-1, and Neph1 by cosedimentation, coimmunoprecipitation, and pull-down assays. PAN nephrosis increased the protein levels of JAM-A, occludin, cingulin, and ZO-1 several-fold in glomeruli and loosened their attachment to the actin cytoskeleton. These data extend current information about the molecular composition of slit diaphragms by demonstrating the presence of tight junction proteins, although slit diaphragms lack the characteristic morphologic features of tight junctions. The contribution of these proteins to the assembly of slit diaphragms and potential signaling cascades requires further investigation.
Project description:Nephrin is a type-1 transmembrane protein and a key component of the podocyte slit diaphragm, the ultimate glomerular plasma filter. Genetic and acquired diseases affecting expression or function of nephrin lead to severe proteinuria and distortion or absence of the slit diaphragm. Here, we showed by using a surface plasmon resonance biosensor that soluble recombinant variants of nephrin, containing the extracellular part of the protein, interact with each other in a specific and concentration-dependent manner. This molecular interaction was increased by twofold in the presence of physiological Ca(2+)concentration, indicating that the binding is not dependent on, but rather promoted by Ca(2+). Furthermore, transfected HEK293 cells and an immortalized mouse podocyte cell line overexpressing full-length human nephrin formed cellular aggregates, with cell-cell contacts staining strongly for nephrin. The distance between plasma membranes at the nephrin-containing contact sites was shown by electron microscopy to be 40 to 50 nm, similar to the width of glomerular slit diaphragm. The cell contacts could be dissociated with antibodies reacting with the first two extracellular Ig-like domains of nephrin. Wild-type HEK293 cells were shown to express slit diaphragm components CD2AP, P-cadherin, FAT, and NEPH1. The results show that nephrin molecules exhibit homophilic interactions that could promote cellular contacts through direct nephrin-nephrin interactions, and that the other slit diaphragm components expressed could contribute to that interaction.
Project description:The targeting and organization of podocyte slit diaphragm proteins nephrin and neph1 is critical for development and maintenance of a functional glomerular filtration barrier. Myo1c is a non-muscle myosin motor protein that interacts directly with nephrin and neph1, and mediates their intracellular transport to the podocyte intercellular junction. Here we investigated the necessity of Myo1c in podocyte development using zebrafish as a model system. Immunofluorescence microscopy and in situ RNA hybridization analysis of zebrafish embryos showed that Myo1c is widely expressed in various tissues including the zebrafish glomerulus. Knockdown of the Myo1c gene in zebrafish using antisense morpholino derivatives resulted in an abnormal developmental phenotype that included pericardial edema and dilated renal tubules. Ultrastructural analysis of the glomerulus in Myo1c-depleted zebrafish showed abnormal podocyte morphology and absence of the slit diaphragm. Consistent with these observations, the glomerular filter permeability appeared altered in zebrafish in which Myo1c expression was attenuated. The specificity of Myo1c knockdown was confirmed by a rescue experiment in which co-injection of Myo1c morpholino derivatives with orthologous Myo1c mRNA prepared from mouse cDNA lessened phenotypic abnormalities including edema in Myo1c morphants. Thus, our results demonstrate that Myo1c is necessary for podocyte morphogenesis.
Project description:Vertebrate life critically depends on renal filtration and excretion of low molecular weight waste products. This process is controlled by a specialized cell-cell contact between podocyte foot processes: the slit diaphragm (SD). Using a comprehensive set of targeted KO mice of key SD molecules, we provided genetic, functional, and high-resolution ultrastructural data highlighting a concept of a flexible, dynamic, and multilayered architecture of the SD. Our data indicate that the mammalian SD is composed of NEPHRIN and NEPH1 molecules, while NEPH2 and NEPH3 do not participate in podocyte intercellular junction formation. Unexpectedly, homo- and heteromeric NEPHRIN/NEPH1 complexes are rarely observed. Instead, single NEPH1 molecules appear to form the lower part of the junction close to the glomerular basement membrane with a width of 23 nm, while single NEPHRIN molecules form an adjacent junction more apically with a width of 45 nm. In both cases, the molecules are quasiperiodically spaced 7 nm apart. These structural findings, in combination with the flexibility inherent to the repetitive Ig folds of NEPHRIN and NEPH1, indicate that the SD likely represents a highly dynamic cell-cell contact that forms an adjustable, nonclogging barrier within the renal filtration apparatus.
Project description:Podocytes are specialized kidney cells that form the kidney filtration barrier through the connection of their foot processes. Nephrin and Neph family transmembrane molecules at the surface of podocytes interconnect to form a unique type of cell-cell junction, the slit diaphragm, which acts as a molecular sieve. The cytoplasmic tails of Nephrin and Neph mediate cytoskeletal rearrangement that contributes to the maintenance of the filtration barrier. Nephrin and Neph1 orthologs are essential to regulate cell-cell adhesion and Rac-dependent actin rearrangement during Drosophila myoblast fusion. We hypothesized here that molecules regulating myoblast fusion in Drosophila could contribute to signaling downstream of Nephrin and Neph1 in podocytes. We found that Nephrin engagement promoted recruitment of the Rac exchange factor Dock1 to the membrane. Furthermore, Nephrin overexpression led to lamellipodia formation that could be blocked by inhibiting Rac1 activity. We generated in vivo mouse models to investigate whether Dock1 and Dock5 contribute to the formation and maintenance of the kidney filtration barrier. Our results indicate that while Dock1 and Dock5 are expressed in podocytes, their functions are not essential for the development of the glomerular filtration barrier. Furthermore, mice lacking Dock1 were not protected from LPS-induced podocyte effacement. Our data suggest that Dock1 and Dock5 are not the important exchange factors regulating Rac activity during the establishment and maintenance of the glomerular barrier.