New insights into the dynamic regulation of water and acid-base balance by renal epithelial cells

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
AJP Cell Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.78). 03/2012; 302(10):C1421-33. DOI: 10.1152/ajpcell.00085.2012
Source: PubMed


Maintaining tight control over body fluid and acid-base homeostasis is essential for human health and is a major function of the kidney. The collecting duct is a mosaic of two cell populations that are highly specialized to perform these two distinct processes. The antidiuretic hormone vasopressin (VP) and its receptor, the V2R, play a central role in regulating the urinary concentrating mechanism by stimulating accumulation of the aquaporin 2 (AQP2) water channel in the apical membrane of collecting duct principal cells. This increases epithelial water permeability and allows osmotic water reabsorption to occur. An understanding of the basic cell biology/physiology of AQP2 regulation and trafficking has informed the development of new potential treatments for diseases such as nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, in which the VP/V2R/AQP2 signaling axis is defective. Tubule acidification due to the activation of intercalated cells is also critical to organ function, and defects lead to several pathological conditions in humans. Therefore, it is important to understand how these "professional" proton-secreting cells respond to environmental and cellular cues. Using epididymal proton-secreting cells as a model system, we identified the soluble adenylate cyclase (sAC) as a sensor that detects luminal bicarbonate and activates the vacuolar proton-pumping ATPase (V-ATPase) via cAMP to regulate tubular pH. Renal intercalated cells also express sAC and respond to cAMP by increasing proton secretion, supporting the hypothesis that sAC could function as a luminal sensor in renal tubules to regulate acid-base balance. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of these fundamental processes.

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    • "In our attempt to identify the molecular mediators of the symbiotic interactions established between the microbiota and the epithelium, the cellular response to acid pH stress thus turns out to be a key element of the cross talk with lactobacillaceae. How cells cope and regulate acidity is a well-studied theme, particularly in the intestinal epithelium and the renal tubular epithelium [41]. On the other hand, little is currently available in the literature on how cells respond at the transcriptional, translational and post-translational level to prolonged exposure to low pH [42]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In an attempt to identify and characterize how symbiotic bacteria of the gut microbiota affect the molecular and cellular mechanisms of epithelial homeostasis, intestinal epithelial cells were co-cultured with either Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium as bona fide symbionts to examine potential gene modulations. In addition to genes involved in the innate immune response, genes encoding check-point molecules controlling the cell cycle were among the most modulated in the course of these interactions. In the m-ICcl2 murine cell line, genes encoding cyclin E1 and cyclin D1 were strongly down regulated by L. casei and B. breve respectively. Cell proliferation arrest was accordingly confirmed. Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) were the effectors of this modulation, alone or in conjunction with the acidic pH they generated. These results demonstrate that the production of SCFAs, a characteristic of these symbiotic microorganisms, is potentially an essential regulatory effector of epithelial proliferation in the gut.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The collecting duct (CD) is the main site for vasopressin-regulated water reabsorption in the kidney, and distal acid/base regulation, processes mediated by the principal and intercalated cells respectively [20]. HIM imaging reveals the surface architecture of the CD cells in great detail (Fig. 6A). "
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    ABSTRACT: Helium ion scanning microscopy is a novel imaging technology with the potential to provide sub-nanometer resolution images of uncoated biological tissues. So far, however, it has been used mainly in materials science applications. Here, we took advantage of helium ion microscopy to explore the epithelium of the rat kidney with unsurpassed image quality and detail. In addition, we evaluated different tissue preparation methods for their ability to preserve tissue architecture. We found that high contrast, high resolution imaging of the renal tubule surface is possible with a relatively simple processing procedure that consists of transcardial perfusion with aldehyde fixatives, vibratome tissue sectioning, tissue dehydration with graded methanol solutions and careful critical point drying. Coupled with the helium ion system, fine details such as membrane texture and membranous nanoprojections on the glomerular podocytes were visualized, and pores within the filtration slit diaphragm could be seen in much greater detail than in previous scanning EM studies. In the collecting duct, the extensive and striking apical microplicae of the intercalated cells were imaged without the shrunken or distorted appearance that is typical with conventional sample processing and scanning electron microscopy. Membrane depressions visible on principal cells suggest possible endo- or exocytotic events, and central cilia on these cells were imaged with remarkable preservation and clarity. We also demonstrate the use of colloidal gold probes for highlighting specific cell-surface proteins and find that 15 nm gold labels are practical and easily distinguishable, indicating that external labels of various sizes can be used to detect multiple targets in the same tissue. We conclude that this technology represents a technical breakthrough in imaging the topographical ultrastructure of animal tissues. Its use in future studies should allow the study of fine cellular details and provide significant advances in our understanding of cell surface structures and membrane organization.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Unlike human patients with mutations in the 56-kDa B1 subunit isoform of the vacuolar proton-pumping ATPase (V-ATPase), B1-deficient mice (Atp6v1b1(-/-)) do not develop metabolic acidosis under baseline conditions. This is due to the insertion of V-ATPases containing the alternative B2 subunit isoform into the apical membrane of renal medullary collecting duct intercalated cells (ICs). We previously reported that quantitative Western blots (WBs) from whole kidneys showed similar B2 protein levels in Atp6v1b1(-/-) and wild type mice. However, WBs from renal medulla (including outer and inner medulla) membrane and cytosol fractions reveal a decrease in the levels of the ubiquitous V-ATPase E1 subunit. To compare V-ATPase expression specifically in ICs from wild type and Atp6v1b1(-/-) mice, we crossed mice in which EGFP expression is driven by the B1 subunit promoter (EGFP-B1(+/+) mice) with Atp6v1b1(-/-) mice to generate novel EGFP-B1(-/-) mice. We isolated pure IC populations by fluorescence-assisted cell sorting from EGFP-B1(+/+) and EGFP-B1(-/-) mice to compare their V-ATPase subunit protein levels. We report that V-ATPase A, E1, and H subunits are all significantly down-regulated in EGFP-B1(-/-) mice, while the B2 protein level is considerably increased in these animals. We conclude that under baseline conditions the B2 up-regulation compensates for the lack of B1, and is sufficient to maintain basal acid-base homeostasis, even when other V-ATPase subunits are down-regulated.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · AJP Renal Physiology
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