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Kidney Int. 2012 Nov;82(10):1071-83. doi: 10.1038/ki.2012.252. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Plekhh2, a novel podocyte protein downregulated in human focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, is involved in matrix adhesion and actin dynamics.

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Division of Matrix Biology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Pleckstrin homology domain-containing, family H (with MyTH4 domain), member 2 (Plekhh2) is a 1491-residue intracellular protein highly enriched in renal glomerular podocytes for which no function has been ascribed. Analysis of renal biopsies from patients with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis revealed a significant reduction in total podocyte Plekhh2 expression compared to controls. Sequence analysis indicated a putative α-helical coiled-coil segment as the only recognizable domain within the N-terminal half of the polypeptide, while the C-terminal half contains two PH, a MyTH4, and a FERM domain. We identified a phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate consensus-binding site in the PH1 domain required for Plekhh2 localization to peripheral regions of cell lamellipodia. The N-terminal half of Plekkh2 is not necessary for lamellipodial targeting but mediates self-association. Yeast two-hybrid screening showed that Plekhh2 directly interacts through its FERM domain with the focal adhesion protein Hic-5 and actin. Plekhh2 and Hic-5 coprecipitated and colocalized at the soles of podocyte foot processes in situ and Hic-5 partially relocated from focal adhesions to lamellipodia in Plekhh2-expressing podocytes. In addition, Plekhh2 stabilizes the cortical actin cytoskeleton by attenuating actin depolymerization. Our findings suggest a structural and functional role for Plekhh2 in the podocyte foot processes.

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