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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2002 Mar;13(3):630-8.

A conditionally immortalized human podocyte cell line demonstrating nephrin and podocin expression.

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  • 1Children's Renal Unit and Academic Renal Unit, University of Bristol, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK.


Recent molecular insights have established the podocyte as a key component of the glomerular filtration barrier, and hence an important common pathway in proteinuric diseases. A conditionally immortalized human podocyte cell line has been developed by transfection with the temperature-sensitive SV40-T gene. These cells proliferate at the "permissive" temperature (33 degrees C). After transfer to the "nonpermissive" temperature (37 degrees C), they entered growth arrest and expressed markers of differentiated in vivo podocytes, including the novel podocyte proteins, nephrin, podocin, CD2AP, and synaptopodin, and known molecules of the slit diaphragm ZO-1, alpha-, beta-, and gamma-catenin and P-cadherin. The differentiation was accompanied by a growth arrest and the upregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, p27 and p57, as well as cyclin D(1), whereas cyclin A was downregulated. These data are consistent with cell cycle protein expression during podocyte maturation in vivo. In conclusion, the development of this cell line provides a new tool in the study of podocyte biology, which will enable accurate assessment of the behavior of these complex cells in health and disease.

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