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DNA Cell Biol. 1996 Jun;15(6):475-80.

Quantitative analysis of aquaporin mRNA expression in rat tissues by RNase protection assay.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0521, USA.


The RNase protection assay was applied to quantify mRNA expression of five principal mammalian water channels in 18 different rat tissues, and to determine the influence of dehydration on renal water channel expression. Probes consisted of labeled cRNAs transcribed from cDNA fragments of rat CHIP28 (AQP-1, bp 238-575 of coding sequence), AQP-CD (AQP2, bp 53-606), MIWC (AQP4, bp 235-572), GLIP (AQP3, bp 219-604), and AQP5 (bp 56-612). Results were normalized to expression of rat beta-actin by quantitative densitometry of autoradiograms. CHIP28 mRNA was expressed strongly in heart, kidney > placenta, skeletal muscle, and urinary bladder and detected weakly in eye, lung, trachea, spleen, liver, colon, prostate, and skin. AQP-CD was detected only in kidney. MIWC mRNA expression was highest in brain, followed by eye, trachea, lung, stomach, kidney, and skeletal muscle. GLIP was found in eye, trachea, kidney, urinary bladder, skin, prostate, placenta, and skeletal muscle. AQP5 was detected in salivary gland, eye, lung, and trachea. An alternatively spliced form of MIWC (sMIWC) was also identified in lung and kidney by RNase protection assay, corresponding to deletion of exon 2 of MIWC. In response to dehydration (3 days, -15 % body weight), renal expression of CHIP28 and MIWC were unchanged, whereas expression of AQP-CD and GLIP were increased significantly by 2.18 +/- 0.04 and 1.36 +/- 0.11 fold (SE, n = 5), respectively. These results establish quantitative values for aquaporin transcript expression in multiple mammalian tissues. The sensitive RNase protection assay revealed the expression of water channels in several tissues not studied previously or in which mRNA levels were too low to detect by Northern blot analysis. The observation of GLIP up-regulation in kidney by dehydration suggests a role in the urinary concentrating mechanism.

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