Nephrocystin-1 And Nephrocystin-4 Are Required For Epithelial Morphogenesis And Associate With Pals1/Patj And Par6

Delous M, etc
Human Molecular Genetics, 2009

Nephronophthisis (NPH) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by renal fibrosis, tubular basement membrane disruption and corticomedullary cyst formation leading to end-stage renal failure. The disease is caused by mutations in NPHP1-9 genes, which encode the nephrocystins, proteins localized to cell-cell junctions and centrosome/primary cilia. Here, we show that nephrocystin mRNA expression is dramatically increased during cell polarization, and shRNA-mediated knockdown of either NPHP1 or NPHP4 in MDCK cells resulted in delayed tight junction (TJ) formation, abnormal cilia formation and disorganized multi-lumen structures when grown in a three-dimensional collagen matrix. Some of these phenotypes are similar to those reported for cells depleted of the TJ proteins PALS1 or Par3, and interestingly, we demonstrate a physical interaction between these nephrocystins and PALS1 as well as their partners PATJ and Par6 and show their partial co-localization in human renal tubules. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the nephrocystins play an essential role in epithelial cell organization, suggesting a plausible mechanism by which the in vivo histopathologic features of NPH might develop.

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Human Molecular Genetics
Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades,