, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 197-209,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 20 Jun 2008

Localization and trafficking of aquaporin 2 in the kidney


Aquaporins (AQPs) are membrane proteins serving in the transfer of water and small solutes across cellular membranes. AQPs play a variety of roles in the body such as urine formation, prevention from dehydration in covering epithelia, water handling in the blood–brain barrier, secretion, conditioning of the sensory system, cell motility and metastasis, formation of cell junctions, and fat metabolism. The kidney plays a central role in water homeostasis in the body. At least seven isoforms, namely AQP1, AQP2, AQP3, AQP4, AQP6, AQP7, and AQP11, are expressed. Among them, AQP2, the anti-diuretic hormone (ADH)-regulated water channel, plays a critical role in water reabsorption. AQP2 is expressed in principal cells of connecting tubules and collecting ducts, where it is stored in Rab11-positive storage vesicles in the basal state. Upon ADH stimulation, AQP2 is translocated to the apical plasma membrane, where it serves in the influx of water. The translocation process is regulated through the phosphorylation of AQP2 by protein kinase A. As soon as the stimulation is terminated, AQP2 is retrieved to early endosomes, and then transferred back to the Rab 11-positive storage compartment. Some AQP2 is secreted via multivesicular bodies into the urine as exosomes. Actin plays an important role in the intracellular trafficking of AQP2. Recent findings have shed light on the molecular basis that controls the trafficking of AQP2.

Robert Feulgen Lecture presented at the 50th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, 1–4 October 2008, Interlaken, Switzerland.