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J Biol Chem. 1994 Aug 26;269(34):21845-9.

Cloning of a water channel homolog expressed in brain meningeal cells and kidney collecting duct that functions as a stilbene-sensitive glycerol transporter.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0521.


In searching for a basolateral membrane water transporter in rat kidney with homology to channel forming integral protein (CHIP28), water channel-collecting duct (WCH-CD), and mercurial-insensitive water channel (MIWC), we cloned a new member of the major intrinsic protein family (GLIP, GLycerol Intrinsic Protein). GLIP cDNA had an 855-base pair open reading frame encoding a 30.5-kDa protein with 19-23% amino acid identity to the water channels and 36% identity to the bacterial glycerol facilitator GlpF. Northern blot analysis showed a 5.5-kilobase mRNA encoding GLIP in kidney, brain, and lung; RT-PCR/Southern blot analysis indicated expression of GLIP in kidney, brain, lung, eye, colon, stomach, and skeletal muscle, but not in heart, liver, and spleen. In situ hybridization in rat kidney showed GLIP mRNA expression in medullary collecting duct. Immunofluorescence with a peptide-derived polyclonal antibody showed GLIP protein expression in basolateral membrane of kidney collecting duct principal cells and brain meningeal cells. Functional measurements in Xenopus oocytes expressing GLIP cRNA showed a > 20-fold increase in [3H]glycerol uptake compared with water-injected oocytes; glycerol uptake was inhibited 88% by diisothiocyanodisulfonic stilbene (0.2 mM) and 36% by phloretin (0.25 mM). GLIP did not function as a transporter for water, urea, inositol, glucose, lactate, and monovalent ions. Glycerol uptake in oocytes expressing CHIP28 and MIWC was not different from that in water-injected controls. GLIP represents the first mammalian water channel homolog that selectively transports a solute other than water. The physiological substrate(s) and role(s) of GLIP remain to be elucidated.

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