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Bechtel, W., Helmst├Ądter, M., Balica, J., Hartleben, B., Kiefer, B., Hrnjic, F., Schell, C., Kretz, O., Liu, S., Geist, F., Kerjaschki, D., Walz, G., Huber, T.B. (2013). Vps34 deficiency reveals the importance of endocytosis for podocyte homeostasis.  J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. 24(5): 727--743.
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Research paper

The molecular mechanisms that maintain podocytes and consequently, the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier are incompletely understood. Here, we show that the class III phosphoinositide 3-kinase vacuolar protein sorting 34 (Vps34) plays a central role in modulating endocytic pathways, maintaining podocyte homeostasis. In mice, podocyte-specific conditional knockout of Vps34 led to early proteinuria, glomerular scarring, and death within 3-9 weeks of age. Vps34-deficient podocytes exhibited substantial vacuolization and foot process effacement. Although the formation of autophagosomes and autophagic flux were impaired, comparisons between podocyte-specific Vps34-deficient mice, autophagy-deficient mice, and doubly deficient mice suggested that defective autophagy was not primarily responsible for the severe phenotype caused by the loss of Vps34. In fact, Rab5-positive endosomal compartments, endocytosis, and fluid-phase uptake were severely disrupted in Vps34-deficient podocytes. Vps34 deficiency in nephrocytes, the podocyte-like cells of Drosophila melanogaster, resulted in a block between Rab5- and Rab7-positive endosomal compartments. In summary, these data identify Vps34 as a major regulator of endolysosomal pathways in podocytes and underline the fundamental roles of endocytosis and fluid-phase uptake for the maintenance of the glomerular filtration barrier.

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PMC3636793 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    J. Am. Soc. Nephrol.
    Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
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