Renin biosynthesis by human tumoral juxtaglomerular cells. Evidences for a renin precursor

J Clin Invest. 1984 Apr;73(4):1144-55. doi: 10.1172/JCI111300.


Renin biosynthesis was studied in a juxtaglomerular cell tumor. The tumoral tissue had a high renin content (180 Goldblatt Units/g of tissue), was heavily stained by immunofluorescence using human renin antiserum, and exhibited numerous characteristic secretory granules by electron microscopy. In one series of experiments, renin biosynthesis was studied in tissue slices, by following the incorporation of radiolabeled amino acids into specific immunoprecipitable renin. Time course studies showed that renin was first synthesized in a high molecular weight form, 55,000 mol wt, i.e., 10,000 mol wt higher than that of active renin, and was then converted into a 44,000-mol wt form. In a second series of experiments renin tumoral cells were cultured. Small, round, birefringent cells obtained after collagenase digestion produced renin in both primary culture and subculture media. After 5 d most of the renin found in the culture medium was inactive, but could be activated by trypsin treatment. The tumoral tissue exhibited a strong renin immunofluorescence and numerous secretory granules were observed by electron microscopy. In contrast, the renin-producing cells isolated from this tumor and grown in culture showed little renin immunofluorescence and no secretory granule could be observed. The renin-producing cells in primary culture and subculture were pulsed with radiolabeled amino acids, and immunoprecipitable radiolabeled renin was found in the culture media, thus demonstrating the actual biosynthesis of the enzyme. This renin was not stored inside cultured cells but was rapidly released into the medium and had a molecular weight of 55,000. No conversion of this inactive high molecular weight renin into the active, 44,000 mol wt form of renin was observed. We postulate the existence of two pathways for the processing, packaging, and secretion of renin in the tumoral cells: in juxtaglomerular cells of tumoral tissue renin is synthesized as a preprorenin and rapidly converted into prorenin (55,000 mol wt), which is in turn packaged in secretory granules where it is processed into active renin (44,000 mol wt) and finally secreted; in the cultured tumoral cells renin is still biosynthesized as a preprorenin molecule and then converted into prorenin, but is neither stored as granules nor processed into active renin. In this case the renin is released in an inactive form.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiotensinogen / metabolism
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Precursors / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Juxtaglomerular Apparatus*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Kidney Neoplasms / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Molecular Weight
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / metabolism
  • Renin / biosynthesis*
  • Renin / immunology
  • Renin / metabolism


  • Enzyme Precursors
  • Angiotensinogen
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • Renin