Background: Vasopressin induced trafficking of aquaporin-2 (AQP2) containing vesicles has been studied in kidney cell lines using conventional fluorescent proteins as tags. However, trafficking of fluorescent tagged AQP2, which resembles the vectorial translocation of native AQP2 from cytoplasm to apical membrane has not been demonstrated at real time. Using a photoconvertible fluorescent protein tag on AQP2 might allow the simultaneous tracking of two separate populations of AQP2 vesicle after subcellular local photoconversion. Methods: A spacer was used to link a photoconvertible fluorescent protein (mEos2) to the amino-terminus of AQP2. The DNA constructs were expressed in mpkCCD cells. The trafficking of chimeric protein was visualized with high speed confocal microscopy in 4 dimensions. Results: Chimeric AQP2 expressed in mpkCCD cell conferred osmotic water permeability to the cells. Subcellular photoconversion with a 405 nm laser pulse converted green chimeras to red chimeras locally. Forskolin stimulation triggered chimeric AQP2 to translocate from acidic organelles to apical plasma membrane. By serendipity, the rate of apical accumulation was found to increase when mEos2 was tagged to the carboxyl-terminus in at least one of the AQP2 molecules within the tetramer. Conclusion: Functional photoconvertible chimeric AQP2 was successfully expressed in mpkCCD cells, in which forskolin induced apical trafficking and accumulation of chimeric AQP2. The proof-of-concept to monitor two populations of AQP2 vesicle simultaneously was demonstrated.
- Photoconvertible fluorescent protein
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