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The human lens is ideal for the study of macromolecular aging because cells in the centre, along with their constituent proteins, are present for our entire lives. We examined the major membrane protein, aquaporin 0 (AQP0), in regions of the lens formed at different times during our lifespan, to determine if similar changes could be detected and if they were progressive. Membrane fractions from three concentric lens regions were examined by SDS-PAGE coupled with densitometry, and Western blotting, to assess the time course of truncation. The overall extent of modification was also examined by MALDI mass spectrometry of the undigested proteins. In all regions, AQP0 became progressively more truncated, specifically by the loss of a 2kDa intracellular C-terminal peptide. The proteolysis increased steadily in all regions such that half of the AQP0 in the barrier region (that part of the lens formed immediately after birth) had been cleaved by age 40-50. MALDI mass spectrometry revealed that in all regions, AQP0 not only was shortened, it also became progressively more heterogeneous with age. Since the lens interior is devoid of active enzymes, it is very likely that the cleavage of AQP0 is chemically induced. We speculate that the loss of this C-terminal peptide 'spacer' may allow occlusion of AQP0 pores on the cytoplasmic face of the fibre cell membranes. Once a significant proportion of AQP0 has been cleaved, this occlusion may contribute to the formation of the lens permeability barrier that develops at middle age.
A screen of recessive mutations generated by the chemical mutagen n-ethyl-n-nitrosourea (ENU) mapped a new mutant locus (5772SB) termed sudden juvenile death syndrome (sjds) to chromosome 7 in mice. These mutant mice, which exhibit severe proximal tubule injury and formation of giant vacuoles in the renal cortex, die from renal failure, a phenotype that resembles aquaporin 11 (Aqp11) knockout mice. In this report, the ENU-induced single-nucleotide variant (sjds mutation) is identified. To determine whether this variant, which causes an amino acid substitution (Cys227Ser) in the predicted E-loop region of aquaporin 11, is responsible for the sjds lethal renal phenotype, Aqp11-/sjds compound heterozygous mice were generated from Aqp11 +/sjds and Aqp11 +/- intercrosses. The compound heterozygous Aqp11 -/sjds offspring exhibited a lethal renal phenotype (renal failure by 2 wk), similar to the Aqp11 sjds/sjds and Aqp11-/- phenotypes. These results demonstrate that the identified mutation causes renal failure in Aqp11 sjds/sjds mutant mice, providing a model for better understanding of the structure and function of aquaporin 11 in renal physiology.
The combination of laser capture microdissection and mass spectrometry represents a powerful technology for studying spatially resolved proteomes. Moreover, the compositions of integral membrane proteomes have rarely been studied in a spatially resolved manner. In this study, ocular lens tissue was carefully dissected by laser capture microdissection and conditions for membrane protein enrichment, trypsin digestion, and mass spectrometry analysis were optimized. Proteomic analysis allowed the identification of 170 proteins, 136 of which were identified with more than one peptide match. Spatial differences in protein expression were observed between cortical and nuclear samples. In addition, the spatial distribution of post-translational modifications to lens membrane proteins, such as the lens major intrinsic protein AQP0, were investigated and regional differences were measured for AQP0 C-terminal phosphorylation and truncation.
Aquaporin 0 (AQP0), also known as major intrinsic protein of lens, is the most abundant membrane protein in the lens and it undergoes a host of C-terminally directed posttranslational modifications. The C-terminal region containing the major phosphorylation sites is a putative calmodulin-binding site, and calmodulin has been shown to regulate AQP0 water permeability. The purpose of the present study was to elucidate the role of AQP0 phosphorylation on calmodulin binding. AQP0 C-terminal peptides were synthesized with and without serine phosphorylation on S231 and S235, and the ability of these peptides to bind dansyl-labeled calmodulin and the calcium dependence of the interaction was assessed using a fluorescence binding assay. The AQP0 C-terminal phosphorylated peptides were found to have 20-50-fold lower affinities for calmodulin than the unphosphorylated peptide. Chemical cross-linking studies revealed specific sites of AQP0-calmodulin interaction that are significantly reduced by AQP0 phosphorylation. These data suggest that AQP0 C-terminal phosphorylation affects calmodulin binding in vivo and has a role in regulation of AQP0 function.
PURPOSE - Aquaporin 0 (AQP0), the most abundant membrane protein in the lens, is a water-permeable channel, has a role in fiber cell adhesion, and is essential for fiber cell structure and organization. The purpose of this study was to identify proteins that interact with the C terminus of AQP0, by using a proteomics approach, and thus further elucidate the role of AQP0 in the human lens.
METHODS - AQP0 C-terminal peptides and AQP0 antibody affinity chromatography were used for affinity purification of interacting human lens proteins. Purified proteins were digested with trypsin, analyzed by liquid chromatography (LC)-tandem mass spectrometry and identified after database searching and manual examination of the mass spectral data. Colocalization of AQP0 with filensin and CP49, two proteins identified after mass spectrometric analysis, were examined by immunoconfocal and immunoelectron microscopy of lens sections.
RESULTS - The proteomics approach used to identify affinity-purified proteins revealed the lens-specific intermediate filament proteins filensin and CP49. With immunoconfocal microscopy, regions of colocalization of AQP0 with filensin and CP49 at the fiber cell plasma membrane in the lens cortex were defined. Immunoelectron microscopy confirmed that filensin and AQP0 were present in the same membrane compartments.
CONCLUSIONS - These studies suggest a novel interaction between an aquaporin water channel and intermediate filaments, an interaction through which AQP0 may maintain lens fiber cell shape and organization.
Biochemical changes of cervical connective tissue, including progressive disorganization of the collagen network and increased water content, occur during gestation to allow for cervical dilatation during labor, but the mechanisms that regulate cervical fluid balance are not fully understood. We examined whether aquaporins (AQPs), a family of membrane channel proteins that facilitate water transport, help mediate fluid balance in the mouse cervix during parturition. Of the 13 known murine AQPs, AQP0-2, 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12 were absent or at the limits of detection. By Northern blot and real-time PCR, AQP3 expression was low in nongravid and mid-pregnancy cervices with peak expression on d 19 and postpartum d 1 (PP1). AQP4 expression was generally low throughout pregnancy but showed a small upward trend at the time of parturition. AQP5 and AQP8 expression were significantly increased on d 12-15 but fell to nongravid/baseline by d 19 and PP1. By in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, AQP3 was preferentially expressed in basal cell layers of the cervical epithelium, whereas AQP4, 5, and 8 were primarily expressed in apical cell layers. Females with LPS-induced preterm labor had similar trends in AQP4, 5, and 8 expression to mice with natural labor at term gestation. Mice with delayed cervical remodeling due to deletion of the steroid 5alpha-reductase type 1 gene showed significant reduction in the levels of AQP3, 4, and 8 on d 19 or PP1. Together, these studies suggest that AQPs 3, 4, 5, and 8 regulate distinct aspects of cervical water balance during pregnancy and parturition.
In vitro studies suggest that endothelin-1 (ET-1) inhibits vasopressin (AVP)-stimulated water permeability in the collecting duct (CD). To evaluate the role of CD-derived ET-1 in regulating renal water metabolism, the ET-1 gene was selectively disrupted in the CD (CD ET-1 KO). During normal water intake, urinary osmolality (Uosm), plasma Na concentration, urine volume, and renal aquaporin-2 (AQP2) levels were unchanged, but plasma AVP concentration was reduced in CD ET-1 KO animals. CD ET-1 KO mice had impaired ability to excrete an acute, but not a chronic, water load, and this was associated with increased CD ET-1 mRNA in control, but not CD ET-1 KO, mice. In response to continuous infusion of 1-desamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin, CD ET-1 KO mice had greater increases in Uosm, V2 and AQP2 mRNA, and phosphorylation of AQP2. CD suspensions from CD ET-1 KO mice had enhanced AVP- and forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation. These data indicate that CD ET-1 KO increases renal sensitivity to the urinary concentrating effects of AVP and suggest that ET-1 functions as a physiological autocrine regulator of AVP action in the CD.
Because of the lack of protein turnover in fiber cells of the ocular lens, Aquaporin 0 (AQP0), the most abundant membrane protein in the lens, undergoes extensive post-translational modification with fiber cell age. To map the distribution of modified forms of AQP0 within the lens, normal human lenses ranging in age from 34 to 38 were concentrically dissected into several cortical and nuclear sections. Membrane proteins still embedded in the membranes were digested with trypsin, and the resulting C-terminal peptides of AQP0 were analyzed by HPLC tandem mass spectrometry, permitting the identification of modifications and estimation of their abundance. Consistent with earlier reports, the major phosphorylation site was Ser 235, and the major sites of backbone cleavage occurred at residues 246 and 259. New findings suggest that cleavage at these sites may be a result of nonenzymatic truncation at asparagine residues. In addition, this approach revealed previously undetected sites of truncation at residues 249, 260, 261, and 262; phosphorylation at Ser 231 and to a lower extent at Ser 229; and racemization/isomerization of l-Asp 243 to d-Asp and d-iso-Asp. The spatial distribution of C-terminally modified AQP0 within the lens indicated an increase in truncation and racemization/isomerization with fiber cell age, whereas the level of Ser 235 phosphorylation increased from the outer to inner cortex but decreased in the nucleus. Furthermore, the remarkably similar pattern and distribution of truncation products from lenses from three donors suggest specific temporal mechanisms for the modification of AQP0.
PURPOSE - Hyperbaric oxygen-treated guinea pigs serve as a useful animal model of nuclear cataract. To understand the structure and function of major intrinsic proteins in this model, the primary sequence and major posttranslational modifications to guinea pig aquaporin 0 (AQP0) were determined.
METHODS - The cDNA encoding guinea pig AQP0 was amplified by PCR, cloned and sequenced. After protein enrichment from guinea pig lens tissue, the protein sequence and the posttranslational modifications to AQP0 were determined by using combined chemical cleavage, trypsin and pepsin digestion with matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry or capillary liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry.
RESULTS - The primary structure of AQP0 was determined from the DNA sequence and the translated sequence confirmed by mass spectrometry. Serine 235 was identified to be the major phosphorylation site.
CONCLUSIONS - Significant sequence homology was observed between species including putative regulatory sites of phosphorylation and pH regulation. These data form a foundation of information from which to begin assessing posttranslational modifications in cataract models.
PURPOSE - To first assess the distribution of posttranslationally truncated products of aquaporin 0 (AQP0) in dissected sections of a normal human lens and to determine the effect of backbone cleavage on the water permeability of AQP0.
METHODS - A 27-year-old lens was concentrically dissected into six sections. Membrane protein was isolated from each section and cleaved with cyanogen bromide, and the peptides were separated and analyzed by reverse-phase (RP)-HPLC-mass spectrometry (MS). The sites of posttranslational AQP0 C-terminal truncation were determined by mass spectrometry. Truncated forms of AQP0 were expressed in a Xenopus laevis oocyte system, and the effect of truncation on AQP0 water permeability was assessed in an oocyte osmotic swelling assay.
RESULTS - The extent of truncation at many sites within the C terminus increased with fiber cell age, and the effects of truncations after residues 234, 238, and 243 on AQP0 water permeability were examined. Truncation after residue 243 resulted in an approximate 15% decrease in permeability compared with the full-length protein, AQP0 1-263. However, rather than a direct effect on water transport, analysis of surface protein expression indicated that the decrease in permeability was a result of less efficient protein trafficking to the oocyte surface and that the permeabilities of full-length and 1-243 AQP0 were indistinguishable. Further, C-terminal truncation of AQP0 to 1-234 and 1-238, completely impaired trafficking into the plasma membrane, precluding the measurement of permeability.
CONCLUSIONS - These data provide evidence that loss of 20 amino acids from the C terminus may not directly affect the ability of AQP0 to transport water.