Since the molecular identification of the first aquaporin in 1992, the number of proteins known to belong to this family has been rapidly increasing. These members may be separated into two subgroups based on gene structure, sequence homology, and function. Regulation of the water permeability of the collecting ducts of the kidney is essential for urinary concentration. Aquaporin-2 and -3, which are representative of these subgroups, are colocalized in the collecting ducts. Understanding these subgroups will elucidate the differences between aquaporin-2 and -3. Aquaporin-2 is a vasopressin-regulated water channel located in the apical membrane, and aquaporin-3 is a constitutive water channel located in the basolateral membrane. In contrast to aquaporin-3, which appears to be less well regulated, many studies have now identified multiple regulational mechanisms at the gene, protein, and cell levels for aquaporin-2, thus reflecting its physiological importance. Evidence of the participation of aquaporin-2 in the pathophysiology of water-balance disorders is accumulating.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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