CD2-associated protein (CD2AP) is a crucial protein for the slit-diaphragm assembly and function. In spite of the fact that CD2AP knockout causes nephrotic syndrome in mice and the heterozygous +/− mouse is prone to proteinuria, little is known about the relevance of this molecule in human renal pathology.Methods
A total of 80 Italian patients with idiopathic nephrotic syndrome were enrolled and screened for changes in the CD2AP gene. A normal control group of 200 healthy donors was also studied. The coding region of the CD2AP gene was analysed by polymerase chain reaction, denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography and sequencing. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with CD2AP mutations and from healthy donors were isolated by the Ficoll–Hypaque gradient, and the CD2/CD2AP interaction was studied on T-lymphocytes by confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis. The expression levels of CD2AP, nephrin and podocin proteins were evaluated by indirect immunofluorescence on renal biopsies from a patient with p.delGlu525 mutation and from control subjects. Moreover, the effect of the p.K301M mutation on cell viability was evaluated by flow cytometry and annexin V/propidium iodide staining.Results
Three heterozygous mutations (c.904A>T; c.1120A>G; c.1573delAGA) producing respectively aminoacidic changes (p.K301M, p.T374A) or a deletion in functional domains (p.delGlu525) were found in three unrelated patients. One (p.K301M) produced a lysine to methionine change in the third interactive SH3 domain (position 301) and resulted in the defective CD2–CD2AP interaction and clustering; the other (c.1573delAGA) caused the deletion of the glutamic acid in position 525 in the COOH-terminal region of binding with nephrin and was associated with down-modulation of CD2AP, podocin and nephrin glomerular expression.Conclusions
Our findings suggest that CD2AP mutations modify the interaction with CD2 in lymphocytes and alter the composition of the renal slit diaphragm.