The nature of the cytoplasmic coat present on the apical invaginations of the kidney proximal tubule cell was investigated by immuneoverlay and immunocytochemistry of renal brush borders with anticlathrin antibodies. When kidney cortex was prepared for electron microscopy using methods that enhance visualization of clathrin coats, the apical invaginations at the base of the brush border microvilli were seen to be backed by a nearly continuous coating which resembles but is more extensive than the lattice-like clathrin coats found around brain coated vesicles. When isolated brush border fractions were prepared under conditions that preserve the coats, separated by SDS PAGE, and transferred to nitrocellulose, the presence of clathrin heavy and light chains was detected by immuneoverlay using two different affinity-purified anticlathrin IgGs--one that we prepared, which detects only the clathrin light chains, and the other, prepared by Louvard et al. ( Louvard , D., C. Morris, G. Warren, K. Stanley, F. Winkler , and H. Reggio , 1983, EMBO [Eur. Mol. Biol. Organ.] J., 2:1655-1664), which detects both the heavy and light chains. As viewed by light microscopy (immunofluorescence or immunoperoxidase), staining with both anticlathrins was concentrated at the base of the proximal tubule microvilli. Immunoelectron microscopic localizations carried out on brush border fractions (using peroxidase and gold conjugates) demonstrated specific binding of anticlathrin IgGs to the lattice-like cytoplasmic coat. When brush border fractions were reacted with monoclonal antibodies prepared against gp330 and maltase, proteins that serve as markers for the membrane of the apical invaginations and microvilli, respectively ( Kerjaschki , D., L. Noronha - Blob , B. Sacktor , and M. G. Farquhar , 1984, J. Cell Biol., 98:1505-1513), the two proteins retained their restrictive distribution in the brush border. The findings demonstrate (a) that the cytoplasmic coat of the proximal tubule intermicrovillar apical invaginations is composed of clathrin heavy and light chains, and (b) that the differential distribution of proteins in these two brush border microdomains is maintained in appropriately prepared brush border fractions.

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