Renal type a intercalated cells contain albumin in organelles with aldosterone-regulated abundance

Thomas Buus Jensen, Muhammad Umar Cheema, Agata Szymiczek, Helle Hasager Damkier, Jeppe Praetorius

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Albumin has been identified in preparations of renal distal tubules and collecting ducts by mass spectrometry. This study aimed to establish whether albumin was a contaminant in those studies or actually present in the tubular cells, and if so, identify the albumin containing cells and commence exploration of the origin of the intracellular albumin. In addition to the expected proximal tubular albumin immunoreactivity, albumin was localized to mouse renal type-A intercalated cells and cells in the interstitium by three anti-albumin antibodies. Albumin did not colocalize with markers for early endosomes (EEA1), late endosomes/lysosomes (cathepsin D) or recycling endosomes (Rab11). Immuno-gold electron microscopy confirmed the presence of albumin-containing large spherical membrane associated bodies in the basal parts of intercalated cells. Message for albumin was detected in mouse renal cortex as well as in a wide variety of other tissues by RT-PCR, but was absent from isolated connecting tubules and cortical collecting ducts. Wild type I MDCK cells showed robust uptake of fluorescein-albumin from the basolateral side but not from the apical side when grown on permeable support. Only a subset of cells with low peanut agglutinin binding took up albumin. Albumin-aldosterone conjugates were also internalized from the basolateral side by MDCK cells. Aldosterone administration for 24 and 48 hours decreased albumin abundance in connecting tubules and cortical collecting ducts from mouse kidneys. We suggest that albumin is produced within the renal interstitium and taken up from the basolateral side by type-A intercalated cells by clathrin and dynamin independent pathways and speculate that the protein might act as a carrier of less water-soluble substances across the renal interstitium from the capillaries to the tubular cells.

TidsskriftPLOS ONE
Sider (fra-til)e0124902
StatusUdgivet - 2015


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