Robert A. Fenton Laboratory

3D reconstruction of AQP2 (green) trafficking in MDCK cells in response to cAMP stimulation. Red marks the apical cell surface.

Group Leader

Robert A. Fenton                   
Bsc (hons), PhD, Professor of Molecular Cell Biology
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My laboratory was started in 2007 and our key interest covers three research areas: (i) investigation of the regulation of membrane proteins in kidney epithelial cells by hormones; (ii) investigation of the role of protein post-translational modification for acute regulation of membrane proteins; and (iii) understanding the role of protein-protein interactions for modulating membrane protein function. Our studies involve utilizing a variety of state-of-the-art techniques and approaches to systematically investigate each research area. Our laboratories approach is to study each research area from multiple aspects; from the molecular regulation of membrane proteins, through to the application of hypotheses in whole animals – our so-called ‘protein to physiology’ approach. The group participates in the training of medical research, bachelors, masters and PhD students. The laboratory is based upon a dynamic international research environment and exchange students are welcome.

Water channels, aquaporins (AQPs): Understanding the role of post-translational modification (phosphorylation, ubiquinylation, sumoylation) for acute regulation of AQP function

Protein-Protein interactions: Understanding their temporal and spatial control of membrane protein function

Abnormal water homeostasis: Physiological and pathophysiological aspects of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus

NaCl co-transporters: Aspects of their acute regulation via hormones and their regulation via multiple signalling cascades

STE-20 related kinases: Understanding their role in the regulation of renal ion homoeostasis

Prostaglandins: Understanding their regulatory role in kidney epithelial cells

We employ many diverse methods to analyse water channels and NaCl cotransporters:

Eukaryotic cell expression systems: various single copy FRT and inducible polarized cell systems 

Confocal/light microscopy: analyses of cellular and subcellular distribution and intracellular trafficking of membrane proteins in fixed cells, semi-quantitation of protein abundance and trafficking, computer-aided 3D reconstruction of membrane protein trafficking

Proteomics / bioinformatics: Various mass spec-based techniques (LC-MS/MS, MRM, Triple-TOF) for identification of intracellular signalling pathways, protein post-translational modifications, alterations in protein abundances upon specific stimulation, identification of protein:protein interactions, time-courses of protein modifications 

Electron microscopy: immuno-gold localization of protein(s) in cells or tissues at the nanometer scale

Transgenic mice: development and characterization of global and cell specific gene knockout models

Animal disease models: generation and characterization of rodent models that mimic human clinical conditions of abnormal water and sodium handling by the kidney

Live cell imaging: FRET and BRET protein proximity assays, Ca2+ quantitation using isolated tubules/cells on microscope/plate reader

Cell and molecular biology: Immunocytochemistry, immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, biochemical analysis of protein trafficking, RNA purification, RT-PCR, cloning, genotyping, site-directed mutagenesis, immunoprecipitatio


  • Interactions of Proteins in Epithelial Transport (InterPrET), AU Pilot Center, Center leader: R. A. Fenton
  • Interdisciplinary Centre for Membrane Proteins, MEMBRANES, Center leader: S. Moestrup


  • Dennis Brown, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard, USA
  • Mark A Knepper and Jason Hoffert, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
  • Michael Caplan, Yale University, New Haven, USA
  • Jeppe Praetorius, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Niels Gregersen and Johan Palmfedt, Research Unit for Molecular Medicine, Skejby Sygehus, Denmark
  • Jan Enghild, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Søren Nielsen, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Ewout Hoorn, Department of Internal Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Craig P. Smith, University of Manchester, UK
  • Peter Deen, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • Jørgen Kjems, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Nanna MacAulay, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Alicia McDonough, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.
  • Volker Vallon, University of California San Diego, San Diego, USA.
  • Frank Thevenod, University of Witten, Germany.
  • Johannes Loffing, University of Zürich, Switzerland
The Fenton Group Summer 2011

Research Group Members

Hanne B. Moeller, MD, PhD, postdoc
Marleen Kortenoeven, MSc, PhD, postdoc
Lei Chang, MSc, PhD, postdoc
Trairak Pisitkun, MD, senior scientist
Emma Tina Bisgaard Olesen, MD, PhD student
Lena Lindtoft Rosenbaek, MSc, PhD student
Helle Høyer, technician
Christian V. Westberg, technician
Tina Dreyer, technician
Else-Merete Løcke, technician
Bodil Kruse, technician

Henvendelse om denne sides indhold: 
Revideret 03.08.2016