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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 15;105(28):9805-10. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0803223105. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

Removal of sialic acid involving Klotho causes cell-surface retention of TRPV5 channel via binding to galectin-1.

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  • 1Departments of Medicine and Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


Klotho is a mammalian senescence-suppression protein that has homology with glycosidases. The extracellular domain of Klotho is secreted into urine and blood and may function as a humoral factor. Klotho-deficient mice have accelerated aging and imbalance of ion homeostasis. Klotho treatment increases cell-surface abundance of the renal epithelial Ca(2+) channel TRPV5 by modifying its N-linked glycans. However, the precise sugar substrate and mechanism for regulation by Klotho is not known. Here, we report that the extracellular domain of Klotho activates plasma-membrane resident TRPV5 through removing terminal sialic acids from their glycan chains. Removal of sialic acids exposes underlying disaccharide galactose-N-acetylglucosamine, a ligand for a ubiquitous galactoside-binding lectin galectin-1. Binding to galectin-1 lattice at the extracellular surface leads to accumulation of functional TRPV5 on the plasma membrane. Knockdown of beta-galactoside alpha2,6-sialyltransferase (ST6Gal-1) by RNA interference, but not other sialyltransferases, in a human cell line prevents the regulation by Klotho. Moreover, the regulation by Klotho is absent in a hamster cell line that lacks endogenous ST6Gal-1, but is restored by forced expression of recombinant ST6Gal-1. Thus, Klotho participates in specific removal of alpha2,6-linked sialic acids and regulates cell surface retention of TRPV5 through this activity. This action of Klotho represents a novel mechanism for regulation of the activity of cell-surface glycoproteins and likely contributes to maintenance of calcium balance by Klotho.

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