The vacuolar H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase) mediates ATP-driven H(+) transport across membranes. This pump is present at the apical membrane of kidney proximal tubule cells and intercalated cells. Defects in the V-ATPase and in proximal tubule function can cause renal tubular acidosis. We examined the role of protein kinase A (PKA) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the regulation of the V-ATPase in the proximal tubule as these two kinases coregulate the V-ATPase in the collecting duct. As the proximal tubule V-ATPases have different subunit compositions from other nephron segments, we postulated that V-ATPase regulation in the proximal tubule could differ from other kidney tubule segments. Immunofluorescence labeling of rat ex vivo kidney slices revealed that the V-ATPase was present in the proximal tubule both at the apical pole, colocalizing with the brush-border marker wheat germ agglutinin, and in the cytosol when slices were incubated in buffer alone. When slices were incubated with a cAMP analog and a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, the V-ATPase accumulated at the apical pole of S3 segment cells. These PKA activators also increased V-ATPase apical membrane expression as well as the rate of V-ATPase-dependent extracellular acidification in S3 cell monolayers relative to untreated cells. However, the AMPK activator AICAR decreased PKA-induced V-ATPase apical accumulation in proximal tubules of kidney slices and decreased V-ATPase activity in S3 cell monolayers. Our results suggest that in proximal tubule the V-ATPase subcellular localization and activity are acutely coregulated via PKA downstream of hormonal signals and via AMPK downstream of metabolic stress.
Keywords: AMPK; PKA; acid-base homeostasis; metabolic stress.