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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 20;102(38):13616-21. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

The B1-subunit of the H(+) ATPase is required for maximal urinary acidification.

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Departments of Genetics, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Surgery, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


The multisubunit vacuolar-type H(+)ATPases mediate acidification of various intracellular organelles and in some tissues mediate H(+) secretion across the plasma membrane. Mutations in the B1-subunit of the apical H(+)ATPase that secretes protons in the distal nephron cause distal renal tubular acidosis in humans, a condition characterized by metabolic acidosis with an inappropriately alkaline urine. To examine the detailed cellular and organismal physiology resulting from this mutation, we have generated mice deficient in the B1-subunit (Atp6v1b1(-/-) mice). Urine pH is more alkaline and metabolic acidosis is more severe in Atp6v1b1(-/-) mice after oral acid challenge, demonstrating a failure of normal urinary acidification. In Atp6v1b1(-/-) mice, the normal urinary acidification induced by a lumen-negative potential in response to furosemide infusion is abolished. After an acute intracellular acidification, Na(+)-independent pH recovery rates of individual Atp6v1b1(-/-) intercalated cells of the cortical collecting duct are markedly reduced and show no further decrease after treatment with the selective H(+)ATPase inhibitor concanamycin. Apical expression of the alternative B-subunit isoform, B2, is increased in Atp6v1b1(-/-) medulla and colocalizes with the H(+)ATPase E-subunit; however, the greater severity of metabolic acidosis in Atp6v1b1(-/-) mice after oral acid challenge indicates that the B2-subunit cannot fully functionally compensate for the loss of B1. Our results indicate that the B1 isoform is the major B-subunit isoform that incorporates into functional, plasma membrane H(+)ATPases in intercalated cells of the cortical collecting duct and is required for maximal urinary acidification.

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