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Pediatr Nephrol. 2011 Sep;26(9):1523-7. doi: 10.1007/s00467-011-1823-z. Epub 2011 Mar 5.

The role of proton transporters in epithelial Wnt signaling pathways.

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Center for Systems Biology (ZBSA), University of Freiburg, Habsburgerstrasse 49, 79104, Freiburg, Germany.


The planar cell polarity (PCP) pathway polarizes epithelia in the plane of a tissue. It regulates form and function of tissues and manifests itself by the polarized formation of cellular appendages such as epidermal hairs and cilia. Defects in the pathway are often associated with organ malformation and disease. In the kidney, the molecular events leading to cyst formation in polycystic kidney disease involve the PCP pathway. PCP is, however, best understood in Drosophila where genetic screens have identified a group of PCP core proteins including the Wnt receptor Frizzled (Fz), Dishevelled (Dsh), and Flamingo (Fmi). These proteins can localize to opposite parts of the plasma membrane in response to a poorly understood symmetry breaking event. Recent evidence suggests that proton transporters may play a role in regulating the asymmetric localization of PCP core proteins. Several papers have reported that the (pro)renin receptor, which is an associated subunit of the proton pumping V-ATPase, is required for PCP, but also for canonical Wnt signaling. Here, we discuss the implications of these findings for diverse developmental settings.

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