Defective aquaporin-2 trafficking in nephrogenic diabetes insipidus and correction by chemical chaperones

J Clin Invest. 1998 May 15;101(10):2257-67. doi: 10.1172/JCI2303.


Five single-point aquaporin-2 (AQP2) mutations that cause non-X-linked nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) were characterized to establish the cellular defect and to develop therapeutic strategies. In Xenopus oocytes expressing AQP2 cRNAs, single-channel water permeabilities of mutants L22V, T126M, and A147T were similar to that of wild-type AQP2, whereas R187C and C181W were nonfunctional. In [35S]methionine pulse-chase experiments in transiently transfected CHO cells, half-times for AQP2 degradation were approximately 4 h for wild-type AQP2 and L22V, and mildly decreased for T126M (2.7 h), C181W (2.4 h), R187C (2.0 h), and A147T (1.8 h). Immunofluorescence showed three distinct AQP2-staining patterns: plasma membrane and endosomal staining (wild-type, L22V), endoplasmic reticulum (ER) staining (T126M > A147T approximately R187C), or a mixed pattern of reticular and perinuclear vesicular staining. Immunoblot of fractionated vesicles confirmed primary ER localization of T126M, R187C, and A147T. To determine if the AQP2-trafficking defect is correctable, cells were incubated with the "chemical chaperone" glycerol for 48 h. Immunoblot showed that glycerol produced a nearly complete redistribution of AQP2 (T126M, A147T, and R187C) from ER to membrane/endosome fractions. Immunofluorescence confirmed the cellular redistribution. Redistribution of AQP2 mutants was also demonstrated in transfected MDCK cells, and using the chaperones TMAO and DMSO in place of glycerol in CHO cells. Water permeability measurements indicated that functional correction was achieved. These results indicate defective mammalian cell processing of mutant AQP2 water channels in NDI, and provide evidence for pharmacological correction of the processing defect by chemical chaperones.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aquaporin 2
  • Aquaporin 6
  • Aquaporins*
  • CHO Cells / cytology
  • CHO Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Fractionation
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / physiology
  • Cricetinae
  • Diabetes Insipidus, Nephrogenic / genetics*
  • Diabetes Insipidus, Nephrogenic / therapy
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide / pharmacology
  • Glycerol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ion Channels / genetics*
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Methylamines / pharmacology
  • Molecular Chaperones / physiology
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Transfection / genetics
  • Water / metabolism
  • Xenopus


  • AQP2 protein, human
  • Aquaporin 2
  • Aquaporin 6
  • Aquaporins
  • Ion Channels
  • Methylamines
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Water
  • trimethyloxamine
  • Glycerol
  • Dimethyl Sulfoxide