Alpha-Klotho, a critical protein for lung health, is not expressed in normal lung

Jianning Zhang, Khoa Cao, Johanne V. Pastor, Liping Li, Orson W. Moe, Connie C.W. Hsia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Alpha-Klotho (αKlotho), produced by the kidney and selected organs, is essential for tissue maintenance and protection. Homozygous αKlotho-deficiency leads to premature multi-organ degeneration and death; heterozygous insufficiency leads to apoptosis, oxidative stress, and increased injury susceptibility. There is inconsistent data in the literature regarding whether αKlotho is produced locally in the lung or derived from circulation. We probed murine and human lung by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and immunoblot (IB) using two monoclonal (anti-αKlotho Kl1 and Kl2 domains) and three other common commercial antibodies. Monoclonal anti-Kl1 and anti-Kl2 yielded no labeling in lung on IHC or IB; specific labeling was observed in kidney (positive control) and also murine lungs following tracheal delivery of αKlotho cDNA, demonstrating specificity and ability to detect artificial pulmonary expression. Other commercial antibodies labeled numerous lung structures (IHC) and multiple bands (IB) incompatible with known αKlotho mobility; labeling was not abolished by blocking with purified αKlotho or using lungs from hypomorphic αKlotho-deficient mice, indicating nonspecificity. Results highlight the need for rigorous validation of reagents. The lung lacks native αKlotho expression and derives full-length αKlotho from circulation; findings could explain susceptibility to lung injury in extrapulmonary pathology associated with reduced circulating αKlotho levels, for example, renal failure. Conversely, αKlotho may be artificially expressed in the lung, suggesting therapeutic opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-687
Number of pages13
JournalFASEB BioAdvances
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • human
  • immunoblot
  • immunohistochemistry
  • inhalational cDNA delivery
  • mice
  • monoclonal antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Physiology


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