Expression of the ammonia transporter, Rh C glycoprotein, in normal and neoplastic human kidney

Ki Hwan Han, Byron P. Croker, William L. Clapp, Dietrich Werner, Manisha Sahni, Jin Kim, Hye Young Kim, Mary E. Handlogten, I. David Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Recent studies have identified the presence of a novel Mep/Amt/Rh glycoprotein family of proteins that may play an important role in transmembrane ammonia transport. One of the mammalian members of this family, Rh C glycoprotein (RhCG), transports ammonia, is expressed in distal nephron sites that are critically important for ammonia secretion, exhibits increased expression in response to chronic metabolic acidosis, and originally was cloned as a tumor-related protein. The purpose of our studies was to determine the localization of RhCG in the normal and neoplastic human kidney. Immunoblot analysis of human renal cortical protein lysates demonstrated RhCG protein expression with a molecular weight of approximately 52 kD. Immunohistochemistry revealed both apical and basolateral Rhcg expression in the distal convoluted tubule, connecting segment, and initial collecting tubule and throughout the collecting duct. Co-localization with calbindin-D28k, H+-ATPase, aquaporin-2, and pendrin showed that distal convoluted tubule and connecting segment cells, A-type intercalated cells, and non-A, non-B cells express RhCG and that B-type intercalated cells, principal cells, and inner medullary collecting duct cells do not. In renal neoplasms, RhCG was expressed by chromophobe renal cell carcinoma and renal oncocytoma but not by clear cell renal cell carcinoma or by papillary renal cell carcinomas. These studies suggest that RhCG contributes to both apical and basolateral membrane ammonia transport in the human kidney. Furthermore, renal chromophobe renal cell carcinoma and renal oncocytoma seem to originate from the A-type intercalated cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2670-2679
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006


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