Cell-Specific Trafficking Suggests a new role for Renal ATP7B in the Intracellular Copper Storage

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Human Cu-ATPases ATP7A and ATP7B maintain copper homeostasis through regulated trafficking between intracellular compartments. Inactivation of these transporters causes Menkes disease and Wilson disease, respectively. In Menkes disease, copper accumulates in kidneys and causes tubular damage, indicating that the renal ATP7B does not compensate for the loss of ATP7A function. We show that this is likely due to a kidney-specific regulation of ATP7B. Unlike ATP7A (or hepatic ATP7B) which traffics from the TGN to export copper, renal ATP7B does not traffic and therefore is unlikely to mediate copper export. The lack of ATP7B trafficking is not on account of the loss of a kinase-mediated phosphorylation or simultaneous presence of ATP7A in renal cells. Rather, the renal ATP7B appears 2-3 kDa smaller than hepatic ATP7B. Recombinant ATP7B expressed in renal cells is similar to hepatic protein in size and trafficking. The analysis of ATP7B mRNA revealed a complex behavior of exon 1 upon amplification, suggesting that it could be inefficiently translated. Recombinant ATP7B lacking exon 1 traffics differently in renal and hepatic cells, but does not fully recapitulate the endogenous phenotype. We discuss factors that may contribute to cell-specific behavior of ATP7B and propose a role for renal ATP7B in intracellular copper storage.

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