Podocytes are specialized cells that play an integral role in the renal glomerular filtration barrier via their foot processes. The foot processes form a highly organized structure, the disruption of which causes nephrotic syndrome. Interestingly, the protein networks that govern podocyte organization are strikingly similar to the processes that mediate neuronal synapse development. Dynamin, synaptojanin, and endophilin are functional partners in synaptic vesicle recycling via interconnected actions in clathrin-mediated endocytosis and actin dynamics in neurons. Dynamin has previously been shown to play a role in the maintenance of the kidney glomerular filtration barrier. Here we used a conditional double-KO of dynamin 1 (Dnm1) and Dnm2 in mouse podocytes to confirm dynamin's role in podocyte foot process maintenance. In addition, we demonstrated that while synaptojanin 1 (Synj1) KO mice and endophilin 1 (Sh3gl2), endophilin 2 (Sh3gl1), and endophilin 3 (Sh3gl3) triple-KO mice had grossly normal embryonic development, these mutants failed to establish a normal filtration barrier and exhibited severe proteinuria due to abnormal podocyte foot process formation. These results strongly implicate a protein network that functions at the interface between endocytosis and actin at neuronal synapses in the formation and maintenance of the kidney glomerular filtration barrier.
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