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Endocrinology. 2010 Mar;151(3):1089-96. doi: 10.1210/en.2009-1070. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Vasotocin/V2-type receptor/aquaporin axis exists in African lungfish kidney but is functional only in terrestrial condition.

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Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, University of Toyama, 3190 Gofuku, Toyama 930-8555, Japan.


The vasopressin/vasotocin (VT)-V2-type receptor (V2R)-aquaporin (AQP)-2 axis plays a pivotal role in renal water reabsorption in tetrapods. It is widely thought that this axis evolved with the emergence of the tetrapods, reflecting a requirement of water retention in terrestrial environment. Here we report that lungfish, the closest living relatives of tetrapods, already possess a system similar to the VT-V2R-AQP2 axis in the kidney, but the system is functional only in the terrestrial estivating condition. We cloned a novel AQP paralogous to AQP0. The water permeability of Xenopus oocytes was increased by injection with the AQP cRNA and was further facilitated by preincubation with cAMP. In the kidney of estivating lungfish, the AQP protein was localized on the apical plasma membrane of the late distal tubule and was colocalized with basolateral V2R. By contrast, we found only little expression of the AQP mRNA and protein in the kidney of lungfish in aquatic condition. The expression levels of mRNA and protein were dramatically increased during estivation and decreased again by reacclimation of estivating lungfish to water. The AQP mRNA levels positively correlated with the VT mRNA levels in the hypothalamus, suggesting that the AQP exerts tubular antidiuretic action under control of VT. Because the tetrapod AQP2/AQP5 lineage is considered to be evolved from duplication of an AQP0 gene, the paralogous AQP0 in the lungfish probably represents ancestral molecule for tetrapod AQP2.

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