Megalin binds and internalizes angiotensin II

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2005 Feb;288(2):F420-7. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00243.2004. Epub 2004 Oct 5.


Megalin is an abundant membrane protein heavily involved in receptor-mediated endocytosis. The major functions of megalin in vivo remain incompletely defined as megalin typically faces specialized milieus such as glomerular filtrate, airways, epididymal fluid, thyroid colloid, and yolk sac fluid, which lack many of its known ligands. In the course of studies on ANG II internalization, we were surprised when only part of the uptake of labeled ANG II into immortalized yolk sac cells (BN-16 cells) was blocked by specific peptide inhibitors and direct competitors of the angiotensin type 1 receptor. This led us to test if megalin was a receptor for ANG II. Four lines of direct evidence demonstrate that megalin and, to a lesser extent, its chaperone protein cubilin are receptors for ANG II. First, in BN-16 cells anti-megalin and anti-cubilin antisera interfere with ANG II uptake. Second, also in BN-16 cells, pure ANG II competes for uptake of a known megalin ligand. Third, in proximal tubule cell brush-border membrane vesicles extracted from mice, anti-megalin antisera interfere with ANG II binding. Fourth, purified megalin binds ANG II directly in surface plasmon resonance experiments. The finding that megalin is a receptor for ANG II suggests a major new function for the megalin pathway in vivo. These results also indicate that ANG II internalization in some tissues is megalin dependent and that megalin may play a role in regulating proximal tubule ANG II levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / physiology*
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-2 / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / biosynthesis
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / metabolism*


  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-2
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Angiotensin II