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Am J Physiol. 1991 Nov;261(5 Pt 2):F831-40.

Heterogeneous localization of G protein alpha-subunits in rat kidney.

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Renal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.


The Gs alpha and Gi alpha 1-3 subunits of GTP-binding proteins were localized in sections of rat kidney using antibodies against unique synthetic decapeptides from the different G alpha subunits. All of the G alpha subunits were found to have a polarized distribution on renal tubule epithelial cells, and staining was typically found on either basolateral or apical membranes in a given cell type. Gi alpha 1 was localized to the apical pole of both thick ascending limb cells and cells forming the papillary epithelium, Gi alpha 2 labeled the basolateral plasma membrane and the cytoplasm of collecting duct principal cells, and Gi alpha 3 was most abundant in the apical region of proximal tubule cells of the S1 segment, where it was concentrated in sub-brush-border invaginations. It was also found in the perinuclear Golgi complex in these cells. Gs alpha was heavily concentrated on the basolateral plasma membranes of thick ascending limb cells and both principal and intercalated cells of the collecting duct. Less intense subapical staining of G alpha s was also found in proximal tubule cells. The cells of the macula densa had a unique G protein distribution that was distinct from the surrounding cells of the thick ascending limb of Henle. Antibodies specific for the Gi alpha 1 and Gi alpha 3 subunits both stained intracellular vesicles clustered at the basal pole of the cell. A heterogeneous distribution of G alpha subunits was also found by Western blotting on isolated cortical membrane fractions.

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