Expression of the ammonia transporter family member, Rh B Glycoprotein, in the human kidney

Ki Hwan Han, Hyun Wook Lee, Mary E. Handlogten, Florence Whitehill, Gunars Osis, Byron P. Croker, William L. Clapp, Jill W. Verlander, I. David Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The ammonia transporter family member, Rh B Glycoprotein (RhBG/Rhbg), is essential for ammonia transport by the rodent kidney, but in the human kidney mRNA but not protein expression has been reported. Because ammonia transport is fundamental for acid-base homeostasis, the current study addressed RhBG expression in the human kidney. Two distinct RhBG mRNA sequences have been reported, with different numbers of consecutive cytosines at nt1265 and thus encoding different car-boxy-tails. Sequencing the region of difference in both human kidney and liver mRNA showed eight sequential cytosines, not seven as in some reports. Knowing the correct mRNA sequence for RhBG, we then assessed RhBG protein expression using antibodies against the correct amino acid sequence. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated RhBG protein expression in human kidney and immunohistochemis-try identified basolateral RhBG in connecting segment (CNT) and the cortical and outer medullary collecting ducts. Colocalization of RhBG with multiple cell-specific markers demonstrated that that CNT cells and collecting duct type A intercalated cells express high levels of RhBG, and type B intercalated cells and principal cells do not express detectable RhBG. Thus, these studies identify the correct mRNA and thus protein sequence for human RhBG and show that the human kidney expresses basolateral RhBG protein in CNT, type A intercalated cells, and non-A, non-B cells. We conclude that RhBG can mediate an important role in human renal ammonia transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F972-F981
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2013


  • Acid-base homeostasis
  • Ammonia transport
  • Renal ammonia excretion
  • RhBG


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