Ksp-cadherin (cadherin-16) is an atypical member of the cadherin superfamily of cell adhesion molecules that is ubiquitously expressed on the basolateral membrane of epithelial cells lining the nephron and the collecting system of the mammalian kidney. The principal aim of the present study was to determine if Ksp-cadherin played a critical role in the development and maintenance of the adult mammalian kidney by generating and evaluating a mouse line deficient in Ksp-cadherin. Ksp-null mutant animals were viable and fertile, and kidneys from both neonates and adults showed no evidence of structural abnormalities. Immunolocalization and Western blot analyses of Na -K -ATPase and E-cadherin indicated that Ksp-cadherin is not essential for either the genesis or maintenance of the polarized tubular epithelial phenotype. Moreover, E-cadherin expression was not altered to compensate for Ksp-cadherin loss. Plasma electrolytes, total CO2, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine levels were also unaffected by Ksp-cadherin deficiency. However, a subtle but significant developmental delay in the ability to maximally concentrate urine was detected in Ksp-null mice. Expression analysis of the principal proteins involved in the generation of the corticomedullary osmotic gradient and the resultant movement of water identified misexpression of aquaporin-2 in the inner medullary collecting duct as the possible cause for the inability of young adult Ksp-cadherin-deficient animals to maximally concentrate their urine. In conclusion, Ksp-cadherin is not required for normal kidney development, but its absence leads to a developmental delay in maximal urinary concentrating ability.
- Kidney development
- Urinary concentrating ability
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