Proteomic analysis of the slit diaphragm complex: CLIC5 is a protein critical for podocyte morphology and function

Kidney Int. 2010 Nov;78(9):868-82. doi: 10.1038/ki.2010.212. Epub 2010 Jul 21.


Podocytes are morphologically complex cells, the junctions of which form critical elements of the final filtration barrier. Disruption of their foot processes and slit diaphragms occur early in the development of many glomerular diseases. Here, we biochemically purified fractions enriched with slit diaphragm proteins and performed a proteomic analysis to identify new components of this important structure. Several known slit diaphragm proteins were found, such as podocin and nephrin, confirming the validity of the purification scheme. However, proteins on the apical membrane such as podocalyxin were neither enriched nor identified in our analysis. The chloride intracellular channel protein 5 (CLIC5), predominantly expressed in podocytes, was enriched in these fractions and localized in the foot process apical and basal membranes. CLIC5 colocalized and associated with the ezrin/radixin/moesin complex and with podocalyxin in podocytes in vivo. It is important to note that CLIC5(-/-) mice were found to have significantly decreased foot process length, widespread foot process abnormalities, and developed proteinuria. The ezrin/radixin/moesin complex and podocalyxin were significantly decreased in podocytes from CLIC5(-/-) mice. Thus, our study identifies CLIC5 as a new component that is enriched in and necessary for foot process integrity and podocyte function in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / pathology
  • Cell Shape*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chloride Channels / deficiency
  • Chloride Channels / genetics
  • Chloride Channels / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Permeability
  • Podocytes / metabolism*
  • Podocytes / pathology
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteomics* / methods
  • Rats


  • CLIC5 protein, mouse
  • Chloride Channels
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Proteins
  • ezrin
  • podocan protein, mouse
  • moesin
  • radixin