The human AQP4 gene: Definition of the locus encoding two water channel polypeptides in brain

Mingqi Lu, M. Douglas Lee, Barbara L. Smith, Jin Sup Jung, Peter Agre, Marian A.J. Verdijk, Gerard Merkx, Johan P.L. Rijss, Peter M.T. Deen

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166 Scopus citations


The aquaporin family of membrane water transport proteins are expressed in diverse tissues, and in brain the predominant water channel protein is AQP4. Here we report the isolation and characterization of the human AQP4 cDNAs and genomic DNA. Two cDNAs were isolated corresponding to the two initiating methionines (M1 in a 323-aa polypeptide and M23 in a 301-aa polypeptide) previously identified in rat [Jung, J. S., Bhat, R. V., Preston, G. M., Guggino, W. B. and Agre, P. (1994) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91, 13052-13056]. Similar to other aquaporins, theAQP4 gene is composed of four exons encoding 127, 55, 27, and 92 amino acids separated by introns of 0.8, 0.3, and 5.2 kb. Unlike other aquaporins, an alternative ending initiation sequence (designated exon 0) was located 2.7 kb upstream of exon 1. When spliced together, M1 and the subsequent 10 amino acids are encoded by exon 0; the next 11 amino acids and M23 are encoded by exon 1. Transcription initiation sites have been mapped in the proximal promoters of exons (0 and 1. RNase protection revealed distinct transcripts corresponding to M1 and M23 mRNAs, and AQP4 immunoblots of cerebellum demonstrated reactive polypeptides of 31 and 34 kDa. Using a P1 and a λEMBL subclone, the chromosomal site of the human AQP4 gene was mapped to chromosome 18 at the junction of q11.2 and q12.1 by fluorescence in situ hybridization. These studies may now permit molecular characterization of AQP4 during human development and in clinical disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10908-10912
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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