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Am J Physiol. 1995 Sep;269(3 Pt 1):C655-64.

Redistribution of aquaporin-2 water channels induced by vasopressin in rat kidney inner medullary collecting duct.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


Aquaporin-2 (AQP2) is the predominant vasopressin-regulated water channel of the renal collecting duct. We tested whether vasopressin induces translocation of AQP2 from intracellular vesicles into the apical plasma membrane. AQP2 was quantitated in plasma membrane and intracellular vesicle fractions prepared from the inner medulla of one kidney from each rat before or 20 min after intravenous 1-desamino-8-D-arginine vasopressin (DDAVP) treatment, using immunoblotting and densitometry. Contralateral kidneys were prepared for immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy. Immunoblotting revealed that, compared with untreated controls, DDAVP treatment significantly increased the fraction of AQP2 protein associated with the plasma membrane fraction relative to intracellular vesicles. This increase averaged 2.0-fold in untreated rats and 2.9-fold in rats water loaded for 12 h. Water loading, presumably by suppressing circulating vasopressin levels, decreased the fraction of AQP2 associated with the plasma membrane by 55%, suggesting retrieval of AQP2 from the plasma membrane. In rats sequentially thirsted for 48 h to increase expression and then water loaded for 72 h to minimize plasma membrane labeling, DDAVP caused a 12-fold increase in the plasma membrane to intracellular vesicle labeling ratio. The accentuation of the DDAVP response seen after water loading is consistent with the observed increase in the fraction of AQP2 in the intracellular pool available for insertion. Immunofluorescence confirmed a marked DDAVP-induced redistribution of AQP2 from intracellular to plasma membrane domains. Furthermore, quantitative immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated a 3.4-fold increase in apical plasma membrane to intracellular vesicle labeling ratio. These results provide a direct in vivo demonstration of vasopressin-induced translocation of AQP2 into the apical plasma membrane.

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