Expression patterns of the aquaporin gene family during renal development: influence of genetic variability

Kleber S Parreira, Huguette Debaix, Yvette Cnops, Lars Geffers, Olivier Devuyst

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21 Citations (Scopus)


High-throughput analyses have shown that aquaporins (AQPs) belong to a cluster of genes that are differentially expressed during kidney organogenesis. However, the spatiotemporal expression patterns of the AQP gene family during tubular maturation and the potential influence of genetic variation on these patterns and on water handling remain unknown. We investigated the expression patterns of all AQP isoforms in fetal (E13.5 to E18.5), postnatal (P1 to P28), and adult (9 weeks) kidneys of inbred (C57BL/6J) and outbred (CD-1) mice. Using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), we evidenced two mRNA patterns during tubular maturation in C57 mice. The AQPs 1-7-11 showed an early (from E14.5) and progressive increase to adult levels, similar to the mRNA pattern observed for proximal tubule markers (Megalin, NaPi-IIa, OAT1) and reflecting the continuous increase in renal cortical structures during development. By contrast, AQPs 2-3-4 showed a later (E15.5) and more abrupt increase, with transient postnatal overexpression. Most AQP genes were expressed earlier and/or stronger in maturing CD-1 kidneys. Furthermore, adult CD-1 kidneys expressed more AQP2 in the collecting ducts, which was reflected by a significant delay in excreting a water load. The expression patterns of proximal vs. distal AQPs and the earlier expression in the CD-1 strain were confirmed by immunoblotting and immunostaining. These data (1) substantiate the clustering of important genes during tubular maturation and (2) demonstrate that genetic variability influences the regulation of the AQP gene family during tubular maturation and water handling by the mature kidney.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-59
Number of pages15
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Aquaporins/genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/physiology
  • Genetic Variation/genetics
  • Kidney/growth & development
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Multigene Family/genetics


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