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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 Oct;301(4):F871-82. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00703.2010. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Villin and actin in the mouse kidney brush-border membrane bind to and are degraded by meprins, an interaction that contributes to injury in ischemia-reperfusion.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, USA.


Meprins, metalloproteinases abundantly expressed in the brush-border membranes (BBMs) of rodent proximal kidney tubules, have been implicated in the pathology of renal injury induced by ischemia-reperfusion (IR). Disruption of the meprin β gene and actinonin, a meprin inhibitor, both decrease kidney injury resulting from IR. To date, the in vivo kidney substrates for meprins are unknown. The studies herein implicate villin and actin as meprin substrates. Villin and actin bind to the cytoplasmic tail of meprin β, and both meprin A and B are capable of degrading villin and actin present in kidney proteins as well as purified recombinant forms of these proteins. The products resulting from degradation of villin and actin were unique to each meprin isoform. The meprin B cleavage site in villin was Glu(744)-Val(745). Recombinant forms of rat meprin B and homomeric mouse meprin A had K(m) values for villin and actin of ∼1 μM (0.6-1.2 μM). The k(cat) values varied substantially (0.6-128 s(-1)), resulting in different efficiencies for cleavage, with meprin B having the highest k(cat)/K(m) values (128 M(-1)·s(-1) × 10(6)). Following IR, meprins and villin redistributed from the BBM to the cytosol. A 37-kDa actin fragment was detected in protein fractions from wild-type, but not in comparable preparations from meprin knockout mice. The levels of the 37-kDa actin fragment were significantly higher in kidneys subjected to IR. The data establish that meprins interact with and cleave villin and actin, and these cytoskeletal proteins are substrates for meprins.

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