Localization of the KCC4 potassium-chloride cotransporter in the nervous system.


Potassium-chloride cotransporters (KCCs) collectively play a crucial role in the function and development of both the peripheral and central nervous systems. KCC4 is perhaps the least abundant KCC in the adult mammalian brain, where its localization is unknown. In the embryonic brain, KCC4 mRNA is found in the periventricular zone, cranial nerves and choroid plexus [Eur J Neurosci 16 (2002) 2358]. To investigate the distribution of KCC4 protein in the nervous system we developed a rabbit polyclonal antibody directed against a short N-terminal peptide. Western blot analysis of brain microsomal protein using purified antibody revealed the presence of a band at approximately 145 kDa, consistent with the size of a glycosylated K-Cl cotransporter. Western blot analysis of brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves revealed high expression levels in peripheral nerves and spinal cord, with low levels in whole brain. Within the brain, the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum revealed minimal KCC4 expression, whereas midbrain and brainstem demonstrated higher levels. In the adult mouse brain, KCC4 staining was observed on the apical membrane of choroid plexus epithelial cells as well as in cranial nerves. All other brain structures, e.g. cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum showed no KCC4 immunoreactivity, suggesting very low or absent expression of the cotransporter in these regions. Co-staining of KCC4 with anti-MAP2, GFAP and CNPase revealed that KCC4 is expressed in peripheral neurons. Thus, KCC4 is expressed on the apical membrane of the choroid plexus, where it likely participates to K(+) reabsorption. KCC4 is also expressed in peripheral neurons, where its function remains to be determined.