Expression in mouse kidney of membrane copper transporters Atp7a and Atp7b.Nephron. 2002; 92(3):629-34.N
Copper is essential for activity of many enzymes, but is toxic in excess. Several copper proteins are required for copper homeostasis. ATP7A and ATP7B are genes encoding membrane copper transporters. ATP7A, defective in Menkes disease (MNK), is expressed in many tissues involved primarily in copper uptake from dietary sources. ATP7B, defective in Wilson disease (WND), is essential for copper excretion. Although MNK patients have a copper deficiency in most tissues, copper accumulates in proximal tubules in the kidney. WND patients also have copper accumulation in the proximal tubules. In some WND patients this copper accumulation may result in tubular dysfunction, resulting in the increased excretion of low molecular weight substances (e.g. amino acids and calcium). In mouse, we have demonstrated, by in situ hybridization, the expression pattern in the kidney of mouse orthologues, Atp7a and Atp7b, and have confirmed Atp7b expression by immunohistochemistry. Both Atp7a and Atp7b are expressed in glomeruli; however, Atp7b is also seen in the kidney medulla. This suggests that glomeruli are responsible for regulating copper levels in the filtrate. In WND patients, urinary copper levels are extremely high suggesting Atp7b in the loops of Henle may have a role in copper reabsorption.