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Am J Pathol. 1997 Oct;151(4):1141-52.

Podoplanin, novel 43-kd membrane protein of glomerular epithelial cells, is down-regulated in puromycin nephrosis.

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Department of Clinical Pathology, University of Vienna, Austria.


Puromycin aminonucleoside nephrosis (PAN), a rat model of human minimal change nephropathy, is characterized by extensive flattening of glomerular epithelial cell (podocyte) foot processes and by severe proteinuria. For comparison of expression of glomerular membrane proteins of normal and PAN rats, a membrane protein fraction of isolated rat glomeruli was prepared and monoclonal antibodies were raised against it. An IgG-secreting clone designated LF3 was selected that specifically immunolabeled podocytes of normal but not of PAN rats. The antigen of LF3 IgG was identified as a 43-kd glycoprotein. Molecular cloning of its cDNA was performed in a delta gt11 expression library prepared from mRNA of isolated rat glomeruli. The predicted amino acid sequence indicated a 166-amino-acid integral membrane protein with a single membrane-spanning domain, two potential phosphorylation sites in its short cytoplasmic tail, and six potential O-glycosylation sites in the large ectodomain. High amino acid sequence identities were found to membrane glycoproteins of rat lung and bone and mouse thymus epithelial cells as well as to a phorbol-ester-induced protein in a mouse osteoblast cell line and to a canine influenza C virus receptor. In PAN, expression of this 43-kd protein was selectively reduced to < 30%, as determined by quantitative immunogold electron microscopy, immunoblotting, and Northern blotting. These data provide evidence that transcription of the 43-kd transmembrane podocyte glycoprotein is specifically down-regulated in PAN. To indicate that this protein could be associated with transformation of arborized foot processes to flat feet (Latin, pes planus) we have called it podoplanin.

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