ILDR1 is important for paracellular water transport and urine concentration mechanism

Yongfeng Gong, Nina Himmerkus, Abby Sunq, Susanne Milatz, Cosima Merkel, Markus Bleich, Jianghui Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Whether the tight junction is permeable to water remains highly controversial. Here, we provide evidence that the tricellular tight junction is important for paracellular water permeation and that Iglike domain containing receptor 1 (ILDR1) regulates its permeability. In the mouse kidney, ILDR1 is localized to tricellular tight junctions of the distal tubules. Genetic knockout of Ildr1 in the mouse kidney causes polyuria and polydipsia due to renal concentrating defects. Microperfusion of live renal distal tubules reveals that they are impermeable to water in normal animals but become highly permeable to water in Ildr1 knockout animals whereas paracellular ionic permeabilities in the Ildr1 knockout mouse renal tubules are not affected. Vasopressin cannot correct paracellular water loss in Ildr1 knockout animals despite normal effects on the transcellular aquaporin- 2-dependent pathway. In cultured renal epithelial cells normally lacking the expression of Ildr1, overexpression of Ildr1 significantly reduces the paracellular water permeability. Together, our study provides a mechanism of how cells transport water and shows how such a mechanism may be exploited as a therapeutic approach to maintain water homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5271-5276
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 16 2017


  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Diuresis
  • Nephrology
  • Tight junction
  • Water channel


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