A mouse model for distal renal tubular acidosis reveals a previously unrecognized role of the V-ATPase a4 subunit in the proximal tubule


  • J.C. Hennings
  • N. Picard
  • A.K. Huebner
  • T. Stauber
  • H. Maier
  • D. Brown
  • T.J. Jentsch
  • R. Vargas-Poussou
  • D. Eladari
  • C.A. Huebner


  • EMBO Molecular Medicine


  • EMBO Mol Med 4 (10): 1057-1071


  • The V-ATPase is a multisubunit complex that transports protons across membranes. Mutations of its B1 or a4 subunit are associated with distal renal tubular acidosis and deafness. In the kidney, the a4 subunit is expressed in intercalated cells of the distal nephron, where the V-ATPase controls acid/base secretion, and in proximal tubule cells, where its role is less clear. Here, we report that a4 KO mice suffer not only from severe acidosis but also from proximal tubule dysfunction with defective endocytic trafficking, proteinuria, phosphaturia and accumulation of lysosomal material and we provide evidence that these findings may be also relevant in patients. In the inner ear, the a4 subunit co-localized with pendrin at the apical side of epithelial cells lining the endolymphatic sac. As a4 KO mice were profoundly deaf and displayed enlarged endolymphatic fluid compartments mirroring the alterations in pendrin KO mice, we propose that pendrin and the proton pump co-operate in endolymph homeostasis. Thus, our mouse model gives new insights into the divergent functions of the V-ATPase and the pathophysiology of a4-related symptoms.