The kidneys generate about 180 liters of primary urine per day by filtration of plasma. An essential part of the filtration barrier is the slit diaphragm, a multiprotein complex containing nephrin as major component. Filter dysfunction typically manifests with proteinuria and mutations in endocytosis regulating genes were discovered as causes of proteinuria. However, it is unclear how endocytosis regulates the slit diaphragm and how the filtration barrier is maintained without either protein leakage or filter clogging. Here we study nephrin dynamics in podocyte-like nephrocytes of Drosophila and show that selective endocytosis either by dynamin- or flotillin-mediated pathways regulates a stable yet highly dynamic architecture. Short-term manipulation of endocytic functions indicates that dynamin-mediated endocytosis of ectopic nephrin restricts slit diaphragm formation spatially while flotillin-mediated turnover of nephrin within the slit diaphragm is needed to maintain filter permeability by shedding of molecules bound to nephrin in endosomes. Since slit diaphragms cannot be studied in vitro and are poorly accessible in mouse models, this is the first analysis of their dynamics within the slit diaphragm multiprotein complex. Identification of the mechanisms of slit diaphragm maintenance will help to develop novel therapies for proteinuric renal diseases that are frequently limited to symptomatic treatment.
Transgenic Drosophila lines are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request. Unprocessed image files were submitted to a public repository (zenodo.org, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.6418762). Access is not restricted for scientific purposes.
- Tobias Hermle
- Tobias Hermle
- Tobias Hermle
- Tobias Hermle
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Ilse S Daehn, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, United States
© 2022, Lang et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cylicins are testis-specific proteins, which are exclusively expressed during spermiogenesis. In mice and humans, two Cylicins, the gonosomal X-linked Cylicin 1 (Cylc1/CYLC1) and the autosomal Cylicin 2 (Cylc2/CYLC2) genes, have been identified. Cylicins are cytoskeletal proteins with an overall positive charge due to lysine-rich repeats. While Cylicins have been localized in the acrosomal region of round spermatids, they resemble a major component of the calyx within the perinuclear theca at the posterior part of mature sperm nuclei. However, the role of Cylicins during spermiogenesis has not yet been investigated. Here, we applied CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in zygotes to establish Cylc1- and Cylc2-deficient mouse lines as a model to study the function of these proteins. Cylc1 deficiency resulted in male subfertility, whereas Cylc2-/-, Cylc1-/yCylc2+/-, and Cylc1-/yCylc2-/- males were infertile. Phenotypical characterization revealed that loss of Cylicins prevents proper calyx assembly during spermiogenesis. This results in decreased epididymal sperm counts, impaired shedding of excess cytoplasm, and severe structural malformations, ultimately resulting in impaired sperm motility. Furthermore, exome sequencing identified an infertile man with a hemizygous variant in CYLC1 and a heterozygous variant in CYLC2, displaying morphological abnormalities of the sperm including the absence of the acrosome. Thus, our study highlights the relevance and importance of Cylicins for spermiogenic remodeling and male fertility in human and mouse, and provides the basis for further studies on unraveling the complex molecular interactions between perinuclear theca proteins required during spermiogenesis.
Previously we showed that 2D template matching (2DTM) can be used to localize macromolecular complexes in images recorded by cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) with high precision, even in the presence of noise and cellular background (Lucas et al., 2021; Lucas et al., 2022). Here, we show that once localized, these particles may be averaged together to generate high-resolution 3D reconstructions. However, regions included in the template may suffer from template bias, leading to inflated resolution estimates and making the interpretation of high-resolution features unreliable. We evaluate conditions that minimize template bias while retaining the benefits of high-precision localization, and we show that molecular features not present in the template can be reconstructed at high resolution from targets found by 2DTM, extending prior work at low-resolution. Moreover, we present a quantitative metric for template bias to aid the interpretation of 3D reconstructions calculated with particles localized using high-resolution templates and fine angular sampling.