The ammonia transporter RhCG modulates urinary acidification by interacting with the vacuolar proton-ATPases in renal intercalated cells.
ABSTRACT: Ammonium, stemming from renal ammoniagenesis, is a major urinary proton buffer and is excreted along the collecting duct. This process depends on the concomitant secretion of ammonia by the ammonia channel RhCG and of protons by the vacuolar-type proton-ATPase pump. Thus, urinary ammonium content and urinary acidification are tightly linked. However, mice lacking Rhcg excrete more alkaline urine despite lower urinary ammonium, suggesting an unexpected role of Rhcg in urinary acidification. RhCG and the B1 and B2 proton-ATPase subunits could be co-immunoprecipitated from kidney. In ex vivo microperfused cortical collecting ducts (CCD) proton-ATPase activity was drastically reduced in the absence of Rhcg. Conversely, overexpression of RhCG in HEK293 cells resulted in higher proton secretion rates and increased B1 proton-ATPase mRNA expression. However, in kidneys from Rhcg-/- mice the expression of only B1 and B2 subunits was altered. Immunolocalization of proton-ATPase subunits together with immuno-gold detection of the A proton-ATPase subunit showed similar localization and density of staining in kidneys from Rhcg+/+ and Rhcg-/-mice. In order to test for a reciprocal effect of intercalated cell proton-ATPases on Rhcg activity, we assessed Rhcg and proton-ATPase activities in microperfused CCD from Atp6v1b1-/- mice and showed reduced proton-ATPase activity without altering Rhcg activity. Thus, RhCG and proton-ATPase are located within the same cellular protein complex. RhCG may modulate proton-ATPase function and urinary acidification, whereas proton-ATPase activity does not affect RhCG function. This mechanism may help to coordinate ammonia and proton secretion beyond physicochemical driving forces.
Project description:In the kidney, final urinary acidification is achieved by V-ATPases expressed in type A intercalated cells. The B1 subunit of the V-ATPase is required for maximal urinary acidification, while the role of the homologous B2 subunit is less clear. Here we examined the effect of acute acid/alkali loading in humans on B1 and B2 subunit abundance in urinary exosomes in normal individuals and of acid loading in patients with distal renal tubular acidosis (dRTA). Specificities of B1 and B2 subunit antibodies were verified by yeast heterologously expressing human B1 and B2 subunits, and murine wild-type and B1-deleted kidney lysates. Acute ammonium chloride loading elicited systemic acidemia, a drop in urinary pH, and increased urinary ammonium excretion. Nadir urinary pH was achieved at four to five hours, and exosomal B1 abundance was significantly increased at two through six hours after ammonium chloride loading. After acute equimolar sodium bicarbonate loading, blood and urinary pH rose rapidly, with a concomitant reduction of exosomal B1 abundance within two hours, which remained lower throughout the test. In contrast, no change in exosomal B2 abundance was found following acid or alkali loading. In patients with inherited or acquired distal RTA, the urinary B1 subunit was extremely low or undetectable and did not respond to acid loading in urine, whereas no change in B2 subunit was found. Thus, both B1 and B2 subunits of the V-ATPase are detectable in human urinary exosomes, and acid and alkali loading or distal RTA cause changes in the B1 but not B2 subunit abundance in urinary exosomes.
Project description:The mammalian Rh (Rhesus) protein family belongs to the Amt/Mep (ammonia transporter/methylammonium permease)/Rh superfamily of ammonium transporters. Whereas RhCE, RhD and RhAG are erythroid specific, RhBG and RhCG are expressed in key organs associated with ammonium transport and metabolism. We have investigated the ammonium transport function of human RhBG and RhCG by comparing intracellular pH variation in wild-type and transfected HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) cells and MDCK (Madin-Darby canine kidney) cells in the presence of ammonium (NH4+/NH3) gradients. Stopped-flow spectrofluorimetry analysis, using BCECF [2',7'-bis-(2-carboxyethyl)-5(6)-carboxyfluorescein] as a pH-sensitive probe, revealed that all cells submitted to inwardly or outwardly directed ammonium gradients exhibited rapid alkalinization or acidification phases respectively, which account for ammonium movements in transfected and native cells. However, as compared with wild-type cells known to have high NH3 lipid permeability, RhBG- and RhCG-expressing cells exhibited ammonium transport characterized by: (i) a five to six times greater kinetic rate-constant; (ii) a weak temperature-dependence; and (iii) reversible inhibition by mercuric chloride (IC50: 52 microM). Similarly, when subjected to a methylammonium gradient, RhBG- and RhCG-expressing cells exhibited kinetic rate constants greater than those of native cells. However, these constants were five times higher for RhBG as compared with RhCG, suggesting a difference in substrate accessibility. These results, indicating that RhBG and RhCG facilitate rapid and low-energy-dependent bi-directional ammonium movement across the plasma membrane, favour the hypothesis that these Rh glycoproteins, together with their erythroid homologue RhAG [Ripoche, Bertrand, Gane, Birkenmeier, Colin and Cartron (2005) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 101, 17222-17227] constitute a family of NH3 channels in mammalian cells.
Project description:Recent studies have identified Rhesus proteins as important molecules for ammonia transport in acid-secreting intercalated cells in the distal nephron. Here, we provide evidence for an additional molecule that can mediate NH3/NH4 excretion, the subtype 2 of the hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel family (HCN2), in collecting ducts in rat renal cortex and medulla. Chronic metabolic acidosis in rats did not alter HCN2 protein expression but downregulated the relative abundance of HCN2 mRNA. Its cDNA was identical to the homolog from the brain and the protein was post-translationally modified by N-type glycosylation. Electrophysiological recordings in Xenopus oocytes injected with HCN2 cRNA found that potassium was transported better than ammonium, each of which was transported significantly better than sodium, criteria that are compatible with a role for HCN2 in ammonium transport. In microperfused rat outer medullary collecting duct segments, the initial rate of acidification, upon exposure to a basolateral ammonium chloride pulse, was higher in intercalated than in principal cells. A specific inhibitor of HCN2 (ZD7288) decreased acidification only in intercalated cells from control rats. In rats with chronic metabolic acidosis, the rate of acidification doubled in both intercalated and principal cells; however, ZD7288 had no significant inhibitory effect. Thus, HCN2 is a basolateral ammonium transport pathway of intercalated cells and may contribute to the renal regulation of body pH under basal conditions.
Project description:Ammonia secretion by the collecting duct (CD) is critical for acid-base homeostasis and, when defective, causes distal renal tubular acidosis (dRTA). The Rhesus protein RhCG mediates NH(3) transport as evident from cell-free and cellular models as well as from Rhcg-null mice. Here, we investigated in a Rhcg mouse model the metabolic effects of Rhcg haploinsufficiency, the role of Rhcg in basolateral NH(3) transport, and the mechanisms of adaptation to the lack of Rhcg. Both Rhcg(+/+) and Rhcg(+/-) mice were able to handle an acute acid load, whereas Rhcg(-/-) mice developed severe metabolic acidosis with reduced ammonuria and high mortality. However, chronic acid loading revealed that Rhcg(+/-) mice did not fully recover, showing lower blood HCO(3)(-) concentration and more alkaline urine. Microperfusion studies demonstrated that transepithelial NH(3) permeability was reduced by 80 and 40%, respectively, in CDs from Rhcg(-/-) and Rhcg(+/-) mice compared with controls. Basolateral membrane permeability to NH(3) was reduced in CDs from Rhcg(-/-) mice consistent with basolateral Rhcg localization. Rhcg(-/-) responded to acid loading with normal expression of enzymes and transporters involved in proximal tubular ammoniagenesis but reduced abundance of the NKCC2 transporter responsible for medullary accumulation of ammonium. Consequently, tissue ammonium content was decreased. These data demonstrate a role for apical and basolateral Rhcg in transepithelial NH(3) transport and uncover an incomplete dRTA phenotype in Rhcg(+/-) mice. Haploinsufficiency or reduced expression of RhCG may underlie human forms of (in)complete dRTA.
Project description:Hypercalciuria increases the risk for urolithiasis, but renal adaptive mechanisms reduce this risk. For example, transient receptor potential vanilloid 5 knockout (TPRV5(-/-)) mice lack kidney stones despite urinary calcium (Ca(2+)) wasting and hyperphosphaturia, perhaps as a result of their significant polyuria and urinary acidification. Here, we investigated the mechanisms linking hypercalciuria with these adaptive mechanisms. Exposure of dissected mouse outer medullary collecting ducts to high (5.0 mM) extracellular Ca(2+) stimulated H(+)-ATPase activity. In TRPV5(-/-) mice, activation of the renal Ca(2+)-sensing receptor promoted H(+)-ATPase-mediated H(+) excretion and downregulation of aquaporin 2, leading to urinary acidification and polyuria, respectively. Gene ablation of the collecting duct-specific B1 subunit of H(+)-ATPase in TRPV5(-/-) mice abolished the enhanced urinary acidification, which resulted in severe tubular precipitations of Ca(2+)-phosphate in the renal medulla. In conclusion, activation of Ca(2+)-sensing receptor by increased luminal Ca(2+) leads to urinary acidification and polyuria. These beneficial adaptations facilitate the excretion of large amounts of soluble Ca(2+), which is crucial to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Rh glycoproteins (RhAG, RhBG, RhCG) are members of the Amt/Mep/Rh family which facilitate movement of ammonium across plasma membranes. Changes in ammonium transport activity following expression of Rh glycoproteins have been described in different heterologous systems such as yeasts, oocytes and eukaryotic cell lines. However, in these complex systems, a potential contribution of endogenous proteins to this function cannot be excluded. To demonstrate that Rh glycoproteins by themselves transport NH(3), human RhCG was purified to homogeneity and reconstituted into liposomes, giving new insights into its channel functional properties. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: An HA-tag introduced in the second extracellular loop of RhCG was used to purify to homogeneity the HA-tagged RhCG glycoprotein from detergent-solubilized recombinant HEK293E cells. Electron microscopy analysis of negatively stained purified RhCG-HA revealed, after image processing, homogeneous particles of 9 nm diameter with a trimeric protein structure. Reconstitution was performed with sphingomyelin, phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidic acid lipids in the presence of the C(12)E(8) detergent which was subsequently removed by Biobeads. Control of protein incorporation was carried out by freeze-fracture electron microscopy. Particle density in liposomes was a function of the Lipid/Protein ratio. When compared to empty liposomes, ammonium permeability was increased two and three fold in RhCG-proteoliposomes, depending on the Lipid/Protein ratio (1/300 and 1/150, respectively). This strong NH(3) transport was reversibly inhibited by mercuric and copper salts and exhibited a low Arrhenius activation energy. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study allowed the determination of ammonia permeability per RhCG monomer, showing that the apparent Punit(NH3) (around 1x10(-3) microm(3)xs(-1)) is close to the permeability measured in HEK293E cells expressing a recombinant human RhCG (1.60x10(-3) microm(3)xs(-1)), and in human red blood cells endogenously expressing RhAG (2.18x10(-3) microm(3)xs(-1)). The major finding of this study is that RhCG protein is active as an NH(3) channel and that this function does not require any protein partner.
Project description:The vacuolar proton-pumping ATPase (V-ATPase) is the main mediator of intracellular organelle acidification and also regulates transmembrane proton (H(+)) secretion, which is necessary for an array of physiological functions fulfilled by organs such as the kidney, male reproductive tract, lung, bone, and ear. In this study we characterize expression of the V-ATPase in the main olfactory epithelium of the mouse, as well as a functional role for the V-ATPase in odor detection. We report that the V-ATPase localizes to the apical membrane microvilli of olfactory sustentacular cells and to the basolateral membrane of microvillar cells. Plasma membrane V-ATPases containing the B1 subunit isoform are not detected in olfactory sensory neurons or in the olfactory bulb. This precise localization of expression affords the opportunity to ascertain the functional relevance of V-ATPase expression upon innate, odor-evoked behaviors in B1-deficient mice. This animal model exhibits diminished innate avoidance behavior (revealed as a decrease in freezing time and an increase in the number of sniffs in the presence of trimethyl-thiazoline) and diminished innate appetitive behavior (a decrease in time spent investigating the urine of the opposite sex). We conclude that V-ATPase-mediated H(+) secretion in the olfactory epithelium is required for optimal olfactory function.
Project description:The conserved family of AMT/Rh proteins facilitates ammonium transport across animal, plant, and microbial membranes. A bacterial homologue, AmtB, forms a channel-like structure and appears to function as an NH3 gas channel. To evaluate the function of eukaryotic homologues, the human RhCG glycoprotein and the tomato plant ammonium transporter LeAMT1;2 were expressed and compared in Xenopus oocytes and yeast. RhCG mediated the electroneutral transport of methylammonium (MeA), which saturated with Km = 3.8 mM at pHo 7.5. Uptake was strongly favored by increasing the pHo and was inhibited by ammonium. Ammonium induced rapid cytosolic alkalinization in RhCG-expressing oocytes. Additionally, RhCG expression was associated with an alkali-cation conductance, which was not significantly permeable to NH4+ and was apparently uncoupled from the ammonium transport. In contrast, expression of the homologous LeAMT1;2 induced pHo-independent MeA+ uptake and specific NH4+ and MeA+ currents that were distinct from endogenous currents. The different mechanisms of transport, including the RhCG-associated alkali-cation conductance, were verified by heterologous expression in appropriate yeast strains. Thus, homologous AMT/Rh-type proteins function in a distinct manner; while LeAMT1;2 carries specifically NH4+, or cotransports NH3/H+, RhCG mediates electroneutral NH3 transport.
Project description:<b>Background</b> Hyperkalemia in association with metabolic acidosis that are out of proportion to changes in glomerular filtration rate defines type 4 renal tubular acidosis (RTA), the most common RTA observed, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the associated metabolic acidosis are incompletely understood. We sought to determine whether hyperkalemia directly causes metabolic acidosis and, if so, the mechanisms through which this occurs.<b>Methods</b> We studied a genetic model of hyperkalemia that results from early distal convoluted tubule (DCT)-specific overexpression of constitutively active Ste20/SPS1-related proline-alanine-rich kinase (DCT-CA-SPAK).<b>Results</b> DCT-CA-SPAK mice developed hyperkalemia in association with metabolic acidosis and suppressed ammonia excretion; however, titratable acid excretion and urine pH were unchanged compared with those in wild-type mice. Abnormal ammonia excretion in DCT-CA-SPAK mice associated with decreased proximal tubule expression of the ammonia-generating enzymes phosphate-dependent glutaminase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and overexpression of the ammonia-recycling enzyme glutamine synthetase. These mice also had decreased expression of the ammonia transporter family member Rhcg and decreased apical polarization of H<sup>+</sup>-ATPase in the inner stripe of the outer medullary collecting duct. Correcting the hyperkalemia by treatment with hydrochlorothiazide corrected the metabolic acidosis, increased ammonia excretion, and normalized ammoniagenic enzyme and Rhcg expression in DCT-CA-SPAK mice. In wild-type mice, induction of hyperkalemia by administration of the epithelial sodium channel blocker benzamil caused hyperkalemia and suppressed ammonia excretion.<b>Conclusions</b> Hyperkalemia decreases proximal tubule ammonia generation and collecting duct ammonia transport, leading to impaired ammonia excretion that causes metabolic acidosis.
Project description:In humans, NH(3) transport across cell membranes is facilitated by the Rh (rhesus) family of proteins. Human Rh C glycoprotein (RhCG) forms a trimeric complex that plays an essential role in ammonia excretion and renal pH regulation. The X-ray crystallographic structure of human RhCG, determined at 2.1 A resolution, reveals the mechanism of ammonia transport. Each monomer contains 12 transmembrane helices, one more than in the bacterial homologs. Reconstituted into proteoliposomes, RhCG conducts NH(3) to raise internal pH. Models of the erythrocyte Rh complex based on our RhCG structure suggest that the erythrocytic Rh complex is composed of stochastically assembled heterotrimers of RhAG, RhD, and RhCE.