P Agre

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (126)1134.39 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of aquaporin-1 (AQP1) explained the long-standing biophysical question of how water specifically crosses biological membranes. These studies led to the identification of a whole new family of membrane proteins, the aquaporin water channels. At present, at least eight aquaporins are expressed at distinct sites in the kidney and four members of this family (AQP1-4) have been demonstrated to play pivotal roles in the physiology and pathophysiology for renal regulation of body water balance. In the present review, a number of inherited and acquired conditions characterized by urinary concentration defects as well as common diseases associated with severe water retention are discussed with relation to the role of aquaporins in regulation and dysregulation of renal water transport.
    Journal of Internal Medicine 02/2007; 261(1):53-64. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2006.01760.x · 5.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aquaporin-4 (AQP4) pool in the perivascular astrocyte membranes has been shown to be critically involved in the formation and dissolution of brain edema. Cerebral edema is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in stroke. It is therefore essential to know whether the perivascular pool of AQP4 is up- or down-regulated after an ischemic insult, because such changes would determine the time course of edema formation. Here we demonstrate by quantitative immunogold cytochemistry that the ischemic striatum and neocortex show distinct patterns of AQP4 expression in the reperfusion phase after 90 min of middle cerebral artery occlusion. The striatal core displays a loss of perivascular AQP4 at 24 hr of reperfusion with no sign of subsequent recovery. The most affected part of the cortex also exhibits loss of perivascular AQP4. This loss is of magnitude similar to that of the striatal core, but it shows a partial recovery toward 72 hr of reperfusion. By freeze fracture we show that the loss of perivascular AQP4 is associated with the disappearance of the square lattices of particles that normally are distinct features of the perivascular astrocyte membrane. The cortical border zone differs from the central part of the ischemic lesion by showing no loss of perivascular AQP4 at 24 hr of reperfusion but rather a slight increase. These data indicate that the size of the AQP4 pool that controls the exchange of fluid between brain and blood during edema formation and dissolution is subject to large and region-specific changes in the reperfusion phase.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2006; DOI:10.1073/pnas.0605796103 · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A Foundations of Crystallography 08/2004; 60. DOI:10.1107/S0108767304097430 · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Previously, we described the development of hyaluronan (HA) deposition in human tooth germ tissues that are consistent with water transport in different stages of tooth development. The aquaporins (AQP) constitute a family of membrane water channels that are expressed in many organs. However, there are no data available about the expression pattern of aquaporin water channels in dental structures. In the present study we have characterised the expression of six different aquaporin isoforms (AQP1-5, AQP-9) in developing human and mouse tooth germs by immunohistochemistry using isoform specific antibodies. In the "bell stage" AQP1 was expressed in endothelial cells of small vessels whereas no other structures of the tooth primordial were labeled. AQP2, AQP3 and AQP9 immunoreactivity was not observed in tooth germs, whereas strong AQP4 and AQP5 expression was observed in dental lamina, inner enamel epithelium, stratum intermedium, stellate reticulum and the outer enamel epithelium. Oral epithelium also exhibited AQP4 and AQP5 immunolabeling. During development of the matrices of the dental hard tissues AQP4 and AQP5 immunostaining was observed in the odontoblasts and their processes, as well as in the secretory ameloblast and their apical processes. Immunolabeling controls were negative. In conclusion, AQP4 and AQP5 are expressed in tooth germ tissues in early development in cells that previously have been shown to express HA and/or CD44, indicating that AQP water channels may play a role for ECM hydration during tooth development.
    Archives of Oral Biology 05/2004; 49(4):247-57. DOI:10.1016/j.archoralbio.2003.09.011 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    Neuroscience 02/2004; 129(4):849-50. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2004.10.001 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The water channel AQP4 is concentrated in perivascular and subpial membrane domains of brain astrocytes. These membranes form the interface between the neuropil and extracerebral liquid spaces. AQP4 is anchored at these membranes by its carboxyl terminus to alpha-syntrophin, an adapter protein associated with dystrophin. To test functions of the perivascular AQP4 pool, we studied mice homozygous for targeted disruption of the gene encoding alpha-syntrophin (alpha-Syn(-/-)). These animals show a marked loss of AQP4 from perivascular and subpial membranes but no decrease in other membrane domains, as judged by quantitative immunogold electron microscopy. In the basal state, perivascular and subpial astroglial end-feet were swollen in brains of alpha-Syn(-/-) mice compared to WT mice, suggesting reduced clearance of water generated by brain metabolism. When stressed by transient cerebral ischemia, brain edema was attenuated in alpha-Syn(-/-) mice, indicative of reduced water influx. Surprisingly, AQP4 was strongly reduced but alpha-syntrophin was retained in perivascular astroglial end-feet in WT mice examined 23 h after transient cerebral ischemia. Thus alpha-syntrophin-dependent anchoring of AQP4 is sensitive to ischemia, and loss of AQP4 from this site may retard the dissipation of postischemic brain edema. These studies identify a specific, syntrophin-dependent AQP4 pool that is expressed at distinct membrane domains and which mediates bidirectional transport of water across the brain-blood interface. The anchoring of AQP4 to alpha-syntrophin may be a target for treatment of brain edema, but therapeutic manipulations of AQP4 must consider the bidirectional water flux through this molecule.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2003; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recovery from neuronal activation requires rapid clearance of potassium ions (K+) and restoration of osmotic equilibrium. The predominant water channel protein in brain, aquaporin-4 (AQP4), is concentrated in the astrocyte end-feet membranes adjacent to blood vessels in neocortex and cerebellum by association with alpha-syntrophin protein. Although AQP4 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of brain edema, its functions in normal brain physiology are uncertain. In this study, we used immunogold electron microscopy to compare hippocampus of WT and alpha-syntrophin-null mice (alpha-Syn-/-). We found that <10% of AQP4 immunogold labeling is retained in the perivascular astrocyte end-feet membranes of the alpha-Syn-/- mice, whereas labeling of the inwardly rectifying K+ channel, Kir4.1, is largely unchanged. Activity-dependent changes in K+ clearance were studied in hippocampal slices to test whether AQP4 and K+ channels work in concert to achieve isosmotic clearance of K+ after neuronal activation. Microelectrode recordings of extracellular K+ ([K+]o) from the target zones of Schaffer collaterals and perforant path were obtained after 5-, 10-, and 20-Hz orthodromic stimulations. K+ clearance was prolonged up to 2-fold in alpha-Syn-/- mice compared with WT mice. Furthermore, the intensity of hyperthermia-induced epileptic seizures was increased in approximately half of the alpha-Syn-/-mice. These studies lead us to propose that water flux through perivascular AQP4 is needed to sustain efficient removal of K+ after neuronal activation.
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    ABSTRACT: The Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) water channel contributes to brain water homeostasis in perivascular astrocyte endfeet where it is concentrated. We postulated that AQP4 is tethered at this site by binding of the AQP4 C terminus to the PSD95-Discs large-ZO1 (PDZ) domain of syntrophin, a component of the dystrophin protein complex. Chemical cross-linking and coimmunoprecipitations from brain demonstrated AQP4 in association with the complex, including dystrophin, beta-dystroglycan, and syntrophin. AQP4 expression was studied in brain and skeletal muscle of mice lacking alpha-syntrophin (alpha-Syn(-/-)). The total level of AQP4 expression appears normal in brains of alpha-Syn(-/-) mice, but the polarized subcellular localization is reversed. High-resolution immunogold analyses revealed that AQP4 expression is markedly reduced in astrocyte endfeet membranes adjacent to blood vessels in cerebellum and cerebral cortex of alpha-Syn(-/-) mice, but is present at higher than normal levels in membranes facing neuropil. In contrast, AQP4 is virtually absent from skeletal muscle in alpha-Syn(-/-) mice. Deletion of the PDZ-binding consensus (Ser-Ser-Val) at the AQP4 C terminus similarly reduced expression in transfected cell lines, and pulse-chase labeling demonstrated an increased degradation rate. These results demonstrate that perivascular localization of AQP4 in brain requires alpha-Syn, and stability of AQP4 in the membrane is increased by the C-terminal PDZ-binding motif.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2001; 98(24):14108-13. DOI:10.1073/pnas.241508198 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aquaporins are membrane channels selectively permeated by water or water plus glycerol. Conflicting reports have described ion conductance associated with some water channels, raising the question of whether ion conductance is a general property of the aquaporin family. To clarify this question, a defined system was developed to simultaneously measure water permeability and ion conductance. The Escherichia coli water channel aquaporin-Z (AqpZ) was studied, because it is a highly stable tetramer. Planar lipid bilayers were formed from unilamellar vesicles containing purified AqpZ. The hydraulic conductivity of bilayers made from the total extract of E. coli lipids increased 3-fold if reconstituted with AqpZ, but electric conductance was unchanged. No channel activity was detected under voltage-clamp conditions, indicating that less than one in 10(9) transport events is electrogenic. Microelectrode measurements were simultaneously undertaken adjacent to the membrane. Changes in sodium concentration profiles accompanying transmembrane water flow permitted calculation of the activation energies: 14 kcal/mol for protein-free lipid bilayers and 4 kcal/mol for lipid bilayers containing AqpZ. Neither the water permeability nor the electric conductivity exhibited voltage dependence. This sensitive system demonstrated that AqpZ is permeated by water but not charged ions and should permit direct analyses of putative electrogenic properties of other aquaporins.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2001; 98(17):9624-9. DOI:10.1073/pnas.161299398 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aquaporin-1 (AQP1) water channel protein is known to facilitate the rapid movement of water across cell membranes, but a proposed secondary role as an ion channel is still unsettled. Here we describe a method to simultaneously measure water permeability and ion conductance of purified human AQP1 after reconstitution into planar lipid bilayers. Water permeability was determined by measuring Na(+) concentrations adjacent to the membrane. Comparisons with the known single channel water permeability of AQP1 indicate that the planar lipid bilayers contain from 10(6) to 10(7) water channels. Addition of cGMP induced ion conductance in planar bilayers containing AQP1, whereas cAMP was without effect. The number of water channels exceeded the number of active ion channels by approximately 1 million-fold, yet p-chloromethylbenzenesulfonate inhibited the water permeability but not ion conductance. Identical ion channel parameters were achieved with AQP1 purified from human red blood cells or AQP1 heterologously expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisae and affinity purified with either N- or C-terminal poly-histidine tags. Rp-8-Br-cGMP inhibited all of the observed conductance levels of the cation selective channel (2, 6, and 10 pS in 100 mm Na(+) or K(+)). Deletion of the putative cGMP binding motif at the C terminus by introduction of a stop codon at position 237 yielded a truncated AQP1 protein that was still permeated by water but not by ions. Our studies demonstrate a method for simultaneously measuring water permeability and ion conductance of AQP1 reconstituted into planar lipid bilayers. The ion conductance occurs (i) through a pathway distinct from the aqueous pathway, (ii) when stimulated directly by cGMP, and (iii) in only an exceedingly small fraction of AQP1 molecules.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2001; 276(34):31515-20. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M104267200 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    L S King, P Agre
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 04/2001; 24(3):221-3. · 4.11 Impact Factor
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    M J Borgnia, P Agre
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    ABSTRACT: A large family of membrane channel proteins selective for transport of water (aquaporins) or water plus glycerol (aquaglyceroporins) has been found in diverse life forms. Escherichia coli has two members of this family-a water channel, AqpZ, and a glycerol facilitator, GlpF. Despite having similar primary amino acid sequences and predicted structures, the oligomeric state and solute selectivity of AqpZ and GlpF are disputed. Here we report biochemical and functional characterizations of affinity-purified GlpF and compare it to AqpZ. Histidine-tagged (His-GlpF) and hemagglutinin-tagged (HA-GlpF) polypeptides encoded by a bicistronic construct were expressed in bacteria. HA-GlpF and His-GlpF appear to form oligomers during Ni-nitrilotriacetate affinity purification. Sucrose gradient sedimentation analyses showed that the oligomeric state of octyl glucoside-solubilized GlpF varies: low ionic strength favors subunit dissociation, whereas Mg(2+) stabilizes tetrameric assembly. Reconstitution of affinity-purified GlpF into proteoliposomes increases glycerol permeability more than 100-fold and water permeability up to 10-fold compared with control liposomes. Glycerol and water permeability of GlpF both occur with low Arrhenius activation energies and are reversibly inhibited by HgCl(2). Our studies demonstrate that, unlike AqpZ, a water-selective stable tetramer, purified GlpF exists in multiple oligomeric forms under nondenaturing conditions and is highly permeable to glycerol but less well permeated by water.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2001; 98(5):2888-93. DOI:10.1073/pnas.051628098 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    V Leitch, P Agre, L S King
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    ABSTRACT: Aquaporin-1 (AQP1) water channel protein expression is increased by hypertonic stress. The contribution of changes in protein stability to hypertonic induction of AQP1 have not been described. Incubation of BALB/c fibroblasts spontaneously expressing AQP1 with proteasome inhibitors increased AQP1 expression, suggesting basal proteasome-dependent degradation of the protein. Degradation by the proteasome is thought to be triggered by polyubiquitination of a target protein. To determine whether AQP1 is ubiquitinated, immunoprecipitation with anti-AQP1 antibodies was performed, and the resultant samples were probed by protein immunoblot for the presence of ubiquitin. Immunoblots demonstrated ubiquitination of AQP1 under control conditions that increased after treatment with proteasome inhibitors (MG132, lactacystin). Exposure of cells to hypertonic medium for as little as 4 h decreased ubiquitination of AQP1, an effect that persisted through 24 h in hypertonic medium. Using metabolic labeling with [(35)S]methionine, the half-life of AQP1 protein under isotonic conditions was found to be <4 h. AQP1 protein half-life was markedly increased by exposure of cells to hypertonic medium. These observations provide evidence that aquaporins are a target for ubiquitination and proteasome-dependent degradation. Additionally, these studies demonstrate that reduced protein ubiquitination and increased protein stability lead to increased levels of AQP1 expression during hypertonic stress.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2001; 98(5):2894-8. DOI:10.1073/pnas.041616498 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome database contains two ORFs with homology to aquaporins, AQY1 and AQY2. Aqy1p has been shown to be a functional aquaporin in some strains, such as Sigma1278b. AQY2 is disrupted by a stop codon in most strains; however, Sigma1278b has an intact ORF. Because Sigma1278b Aqy2p has an intracellular localization in Xenopus oocytes and in yeast, other strains of yeast were examined. Aqy2p from Saccharomyces chevalieri has a single amino acid in the third transmembrane domain (Ser-141) that differs from Sigma1278b Aqy2p (Pro-141). S. chevalieri Aqy2p is a functional water channel in oocytes and traffics to the plasma membrane of yeast. The Sigma1278b parental strain, the aqy1-aqy2 double null yeast, and null yeast expressing S. chevalieri Aqy2p were examined under various conditions. Comparison of these strains revealed that the aquaporin null cells were more aggregated and their surface was more hydrophobic. As a result, the aquaporin null cells were more flocculent and more efficient at haploid invasive growth. Despite its primary intracellular localization, Sigma1278b Aqy2p plays a role in yeast similar to Aqy1p and S. chevalieri Aqy2p. In addition, Aqy1p and Aqy2p can affect cell surface properties and may provide an advantage by dispersing the cells during starvation or during sexual reproduction.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2001; 98(3):1000-5. DOI:10.1073/pnas.98.3.1000 · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Current Topics in Membranes 01/2001; 51:371-380. DOI:10.1016/S1063-5823(01)51011-X · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the rat, aquaporin-6 (AQP6) is mainly localized in intercalated cells (ICs) in collecting ducts, where it is exclusively associated with intracellular vesicles. In this study, we examined whether AQP6 protein and mRNA expression were regulated in the inner medulla or inner stripe of the outer medulla. Rats treated with dietary alkali or acid load for 7 days with a fixed daily water intake revealed appropriate changes in urine pH but unchanged urine output. AQP6 protein and mRNA abundance were increased in alkali-loaded rats (187 +/- 18 and 151 +/- 17% of control, respectively), whereas no changes were observed in acid-loaded rats. Immunohistochemistry revealed increased IC AQP6 labeling in alkali-loaded rats but not in acid-loaded rats. In contrast, administration of NH(4)Cl in the drinking water for 2 wk (free access to water) revealed a significant increase in AQP6 protein abundance (194 +/- 9% of control), but this was associated with increased water intake. Combined, this suggests that AQP6 expression was not affected by acid loading per se but rather was in response to changes in water intake. Consistent with this, water loading for 48 h was associated with increased AQP6 protein abundance, compared with thirsted rats. Moreover, rats with lithium-induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus had a threefold increase in both AQP6 protein and mRNA expression. Overall, these results suggest that AQP6 expression in collecting duct ICs is regulated by altered acid/alkali load or water balance. Thus AQP6 may contribute to maintenance of acid-base homeostasis and water balance.
    American journal of physiology. Renal physiology 01/2001; 279(6):F1014-26. · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    J Heitman, P Agre
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    ABSTRACT: The Mep ammonium transporters of Saccharomyces cerevisiae share amino acid sequence identity with the Rh blood group antigen proteins. A new study shows that the Rhg glycoproteins transport ammonium when heterologously expressed in mep mutant yeast cells, indicating a role for the Rh antigen complex.
    Nature Genetics 12/2000; 26(3):258-9. DOI:10.1038/81532 · 29.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human red cell AQP1 is the first functionally defined member of the aquaporin family of membrane water channels. Here we describe an atomic model of AQP1 at 3.8A resolution from electron crystallographic data. Multiple highly conserved amino-acid residues stabilize the novel fold of AQP1. The aqueous pathway is lined with conserved hydrophobic residues that permit rapid water transport, whereas the water selectivity is due to a constriction of the pore diameter to about 3 A over a span of one residue. The atomic model provides a possible molecular explanation to a longstanding puzzle in physiology-how membranes can be freely permeable to water but impermeable to protons.
    Nature 11/2000; 407(6804):599-605. DOI:10.1038/35036519 · 42.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Opacities in the crystalline lens of eye appear with high frequency in the general population. Dominantly inherited cataracts with differing clinical features were found in two families carrying different point mutations in the gene encoding lens water channel protein AQP0 (major intrinsic protein, MIP). Families with E134G have a uni-lamellar cataract which is stable after birth, whereas families with T138R have multi-focal opacities which increase throughout life. To establish pathophysiological relevance of cataract formation, the Xenopus laevis oocyte expression system was employed to evaluate functional defects in the mutant proteins, E134G and T138R. Both substitutions cause loss of membrane water channel activity due to impaired trafficking of the mutant proteins to the oocyte plasma membrane. Although missense mutations in AQP1 and AQP2 proteins are known to result in recessive traits in vivo and in vitro, when E134G or T138R are co-expressed with wild-type AQP0 protein, the mutant proteins exhibit dominant negative behaviour. To our knowledge, these studies represent the first in vitro demonstration of functionally defective AQP0 protein from humans with congenital cataracts. Moreover, these observations predict that less severe defects in the AQP0 protein may contribute to lens opacity in patients with common, less fulminant forms of cataracts.
    Human Molecular Genetics 10/2000; 9(15):2329-34. DOI:10.1093/oxfordjournals.hmg.a018925 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GlpF, the glycerol facilitator protein of Escherichia coli, is an archetypal member of the aquaporin superfamily. To assess its structure, recombinant histidine-tagged protein was overexpressed, solubilized in octylglucoside and purified to homogeneity. Negative stain electron microscopy of solubilized GlpF protein revealed a tetrameric structure of approximately 80 A side length. Scanning transmission electron microscopy yielded a mass of 170 kDa, corroborating the tetrameric nature of GlpF. Reconstitution of GlpF in the presence of lipids produced highly ordered two-dimensional crystals, which diffracted electrons to 3.6 A resolution. Cryoelectron microscopy provided a 3.7 A projection map exhibiting a unit cell comprised of two tetramers. In projection, GlpF is similar to AQP1, the erythrocyte water channel. However, the major density minimum within each monomer is distinctly larger in GlpF than in AQP1.
    EMBO Reports 09/2000; 1(2):183-9. DOI:10.1038/sj.embor.embor615 · 7.86 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

14k Citations
1,134.39 Total Impact Points


  • 2007
    • Duke University
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2006
    • Duke University Medical Center
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 1988–2004
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • • Department of Biological Chemistry
      • • Department of Medicine
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • University of Rochester
      • School of Medicine and Dentistry
      Rochester, NY, United States
  • 1995–2001
    • Aarhus University
      • Institute of Anatomy
      Aars, Region North Jutland, Denmark
    • Radboud University Nijmegen
      • Department of Physiology
      Nijmegen, Provincie Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 1988–2000
    • Johns Hopkins Medicine
      • • Department of Biological Chemistry
      • • Department of Medicine
      Baltimore, MD, United States
  • 1998
    • IT University of Copenhagen
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 1997
    • Université Libre de Bruxelles
      Bruxelles, Brussels Capital Region, Belgium
  • 1996
    • University of Oslo
      • Department of Anatomy
      Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 1994
    • Mayo Clinic - Rochester
      • Department of Internal Medicine
      Rochester, Minnesota, United States
    • St. Elizabeth's Medical Center
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Universität Basel
      • Department of Biophysical Chemistry
      Basel, BS, Switzerland
  • 1993
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
      Maryland, United States
  • 1988–1993
    • Institut National de la Transfusion Sanguine, Paris
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 1988–1990
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Department of Laboratory Medicine
      San Francisco, CA, United States