Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices
- Diseases of the glomerular basement membrane (GBM), such as Goodpasture’s disease (GP) and Alport syndrome (AS), are a major cause of chronic kidney failure and an unmet medical need. Collagen IVα345 is an important architectural element of the GBM that was discovered in previous research on GP and AS. How this collagen enables GBM to function as a permselective filter and how structural defects cause renal failure remain an enigma. We found a distinctive genetic variant of collagen IVα345 in both a familial GP case and four AS kindreds that provided insights into these mechanisms.
- Our recent work identified a genetic variant of the α345 hexamer of the collagen IV scaffold that is present in patients with glomerular basement membrane diseases, Goodpasture’s disease (GP) and Alport syndrome (AS), and phenocopies of AS in knock-in mice. To understand the context of this “Zurich” variant, an 8-amino acid appendage, we developed a construct of the WT α345 hexamer using the single-chain NC1 trimer technology, which allowed us to solve a crystal structure of this key connection module.