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Kidney Int. 2006 May;69(10):1717-21.

Regulated intramembrane proteolysis of megalin: linking urinary protein and gene regulation in proximal tubule?

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Section of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Regulated intramembrane proteolysis (RIP) represents an evolutionarily conserved process linking receptor function with transcriptional regulation. Best characterized by the Notch signaling pathway, RIP involves regulated ectodomain shedding followed by gamma-secretase-mediated release of the C-terminal, cytosolic domain. The C-terminus in turn translocates to the nucleus where it interacts with other proteins to regulate expression of specific genes. Recent studies in our laboratory have shown that megalin, a scavenger receptor in proximal tubule, is subjected to RIP in a manner very similar to that of Notch. We showed that megalin in subjected to protein kinase C-regulated, metalloprotease-mediated ectodomain shedding producing a membrane-associated C-terminal fragment (MCTF). The MCTF in turn forms the substrate for gamma-secretase. These data implicate megalin as a central element of a Notch-like signaling pathway linking protein reabsorption and gene regulation in proximal tubule. The likelihood that megalin processing plays an important role in the progression of proteinuric kidney disease is discussed.

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