Role of OCRL1 in zebrafish early development and kidney function

  • Grzegorz Pietka

    Student thesis: Phd


    Mutations of the gene encoding the inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase OCRL1 are responsible for causing two disorders in humans: Lowe syndrome and type 2 Dent's disease (Dent-2). Lowe syndrome (oculocerebrorenal syndrome of Lowe) is an X-linked genetic disorder that causes multisystem defects affecting predominantly the eyes, brain and kidneys. Dent-2 disease is very similar to Lowe syndrome, but it affects primarily the kidneys with little or no symptoms in the brain and eyes. The enzymatic activity, structure and binding partners of the OCRL1 protein have been described and progress on the cellular functions of OCRL1 has been made. However the studies to date have not provided the necessary insight to explain the tissue-specific defects observed in Lowe syndrome and Dent-2 patients. In order to investigate the role of OCRL1 and the consequences of its deficiency in a physiological context an animal model is required. We have chosen the zebrafish for this study due to its suitability for investigating vertebrate early development and the abundance of research techniques available for this model organism. We have studied the expression of OCRL1 in zebrafish and its role in the early embryonic development. We have also investigated its role in the endocytic function of the zebrafish larval pronephric kidney. Finally we have investigated its role in ciliogenesis and function of pronephric cilia. Our studies show that OCRL1 depletion does not cause gross developmental defects, nor affects the development of pronephros, but impairs their endocytic activity. We have also shown, that efficient pronephric uptake requires OCRL1 interactions with clathrin, Rab GTPase family proteins, APPL1 and IPIP27A/B. Our studies link the reduced uptake with lowered levels of megalin receptor, which is responsible for the bulk of protein reabsorption in the kidney. Together our results strongly suggest that defects in this process are responsible for low molecular weight proteinuria present in Lowe syndrome and Dent-2 patients and zebrafish is a suitable model to study the renal aspect of these diseases.
    Date of Award1 Aug 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorMartin Lowe (Supervisor) & Nancy Papalopulu (Supervisor)


    • OCRL1, Lowe syndrome, zebrafish, development, kidney, pronephros, uptake, cilia

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