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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 May 9;92(10):4328-31.

Immunolocalization of the mercurial-insensitive water channel and glycerol intrinsic protein in epithelial cell plasma membranes.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0521, USA.


Two water channel homologs were cloned recently from rat kidney, mercurial-insensitive water channel (MIWC) and glycerol intrinsic protein (GLIP). Polyclonal antibodies were raised against synthetic C-terminal peptides and purified by affinity chromatography. MIWC and GLIP antibodies recognized proteins in rat kidney with an apparent molecular mass of 30 and 27 kDa, respectively, and did not cross-react. By immunofluorescence, MIWC and GLIP were expressed together on the basolateral plasma membrane of collecting duct principal cells in kidney. By immunohistochemistry, MIWC and GLIP were expressed on tracheal epithelial cells with greater expression of GLIP on the basal plasma membrane and MIWC on the lateral membrane; only MIWC was expressed in bronchial epithelia. In eye, GLIP was expressed in conjunctival epithelium, whereas MIWC was found in iris, ciliary body, and neural cell layers in retina. MIWC and GLIP colocalized on the basolateral membrane of villus epithelial cells in colon and brain ependymal cells. Expression of MIWC and GLIP was not detected in small intestine, liver, spleen, endothelia, and cells that express water channels CHIP28 or WCH-CD. These studies suggest water/solute transporting roles for MIWC and GLIP in the urinary concentrating mechanism, cerebrospinal fluid absorption, ocular fluid balance, fecal dehydration, and airway humidification. The unexpected membrane colocalization of MIWC and GLIP in several tissues suggests an interaction at the molecular and/or functional levels.

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