Tissue distribution and subcellular localization of the family of Kidney Ankyrin Repeat Domain (KANK) proteins

Exp Cell Res. 2021 Jan 1;398(1):112391. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2020.112391. Epub 2020 Nov 28.


Kidney Ankyrin Repeat-containing Proteins (KANKs) comprise a family of four evolutionary conserved proteins (KANK1 to 4) that localize to the belt of mature focal adhesions (FAs) where they regulate integrin-mediated adhesion, actomyosin contractility, and link FAs to the cortical microtubule stabilization complex (CMSC). The human KANK proteins were first identified in kidney and have been associated with kidney cancer and nephrotic syndrome. Here, we report the distributions and subcellular localizations of the four Kank mRNAs and proteins in mouse tissues. We found that the KANK family members display distinct and rarely overlapping expression patterns. Whereas KANK1 is expressed at the basal side of epithelial cells of all tissues tested, KANK2 expression is mainly observed at the plasma membrane and/or cytoplasm of mesenchymal cells and KANK3 exclusively in vascular and lymphatic endothelial cells. KANK4 shows the least widespread expression pattern and when present, overlaps with KANK2 in contractile cells, such as smooth muscle cells and pericytes. Our findings show that KANKs are widely expressed in a cell type-specific manner, which suggests that they have cell- and tissue-specific functions.

Keywords: Expression; Human; Immunostaining; KANK; Mouse; Western blot.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / chemistry*
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Kank1 protein, mouse