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J Biol Chem. 1997 Aug 15;272(33):20782-6.

Cloning and functional expression of a new water channel abundantly expressed in the testis permeable to water, glycerol, and urea.

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  • 1Second Department of Internal Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113, Japan.


A new member of the aquaporin (AQP) family has been identified from rat testis. This gene, referred as aquaporin 7 (AQP7), encodes a 269-amino acid protein that contained the conserved NPA motifs of MIP family proteins. AQP7 has the amino acid sequence homology with other aquaporins ( approximately 30%), and it is highest with AQP3 (48%), suggesting that both AQP3 and AQP7 belong to a subfamily in the MIP family. Injection of AQP7-cRNA into Xenopus oocytes expressed a 26-kDa protein detected by immunoblotting. The expression of AQP7 in oocytes stimulated the osmotic water permeability by 10-fold which was not inhibited by 0.3 mM mercury chloride. The Arrhenius activation energy for the stimulated water permeability was low (2.1 kcal/mol). AQP7 also facilitated glycerol and urea transport by 5- and 9-fold, respectively. The activation energy for glycerol was also low (5.3 kcal/mol after the correction of the endogenous glycerol permeability of oocytes). Northern blot analysis revealed a 1.5-kilobase pair transcript expressed abundantly in testis. In situ hybridization of testis revealed the expression of AQP7 at late spermatids in seminiferous tubules. The immunohistochemistry of testis localized the AQP7 expression at late spermatids and at maturing sperms. AQP7 may play an important role in sperm function.

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