Kathrin Weyer

Mouse model of proximal tubule endocytic dysfunction

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BACKGROUND: Several studies have indicated the central role of the megalin/cubilin multiligand endocytic receptor complex in protein reabsorption in the kidney proximal tubule. However, the poor viability of the existing megalin-deficient mice precludes further studies and comparison of homogeneous groups of mice.METHODS: Megalin- and/or cubilin-deficient mice were generated using a conditional Cre-loxP system, where the Cre gene is driven by the Wnt4 promoter. Kidney tissues from the mice were analysed for megalin and cubilin expression by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Renal albumin uptake was visualized by immunohistochemistry. Twenty-four-hour urine samples were collected in metabolic cages and analysed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and western blotting. Urinary albumin/creatinine ratios were measured by ELISA and the alkaline picrate method.RESULTS: The Meg(lox/lox);Cre(+), Cubn(lox/lox);Cre(+) and Meg(lox/lox),Cubn(lox/lox);Cre(+) mice were all viable, fertile and developed normal kidneys. Megalin and/or cubilin expression, assessed by immunohistology and western blotting, was reduced by >89%. Consistent with this observation, the mice excreted megalin and cubilin ligands such as transferrin and albumin in addition to low-molecular weight proteins. We further show that megalin/cubilin double-deficient mice excrete albumin with an average of 1.45 ± 0.54 mg/day, suggesting a very low albumin concentration in the glomerular ultrafiltrate.CONCLUSIONS: We report here the efficient genetic ablation of megalin, cubilin or both, using a Cre transgene driven by the Wnt4 promoter. The viable megalin/cubilin double-deficient mice now allow for detailed large-scale group analysis, and we anticipate that the mice will be of great value as an animal model for proximal tubulopathies with disrupted endocytosis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation
Volume26
Pages (from-to)3446-3451
ISSN0931-0509
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2011

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