Single-channel analysis of functional epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) stability at the apical membrane of A6 distal kidney cells.
ABSTRACT Epithelial sodium channels (ENaC) play an essential role in maintaining total body fluid and electrolyte homeostasis. As such, abnormal expression of ENaC at the cell surface is linked to several important human diseases. Although the stability of ENaC subunits has been extensively studied by protein biochemical analysis, the half-life of the functional channel in the apical membrane remains controversial. Because the functional stability of the multisubunit channel may be more physiologically relevant than the stability of individual subunit proteins, we performed studies of functional ENaC channels using A6 epithelial cells, a Xenopus laevis distal nephron cell line. We recorded single-channel activity in over 400 cells with the translation blockers cycloheximide (CHX) or puromycin, as well as the intracellular protein trafficking inhibitors brefeldin A (BFA) or nocodazole. Our cell-attached, single-channel recordings allow us to quantify the channel density in the apical membrane, as well as to determine channel open probability (Po) from control (untreated) cells and from cells at different times of drug treatment. The data suggest that the half-life of ENaC channels is approximately 3.5 h following puromycin, BFA, and nocodazole treatment. Furthermore, these three drugs had no significant effect on the Po of ENaC for at least 6 h after exposure. A decrease in apical channel number and Po was observed following 2 h of CHX inhibition of protein synthesis, and the apparent channel half-life was closer to 1.5 h following CHX treatment. Treatment of cells with the translation inhibitors does not alter the expression of the protease furin, and therefore changes in protease activity cannot explain changes in ENaC Po. Confocal images show that BFA and nocodazole both disrupt most of the Golgi apparatus after 1-h exposure. In cells with the Golgi totally disrupted by overnight exposure to BFA, 20% of apical ENaC channels remained functional. This result suggests that ENaC is delivered to the apical membrane via a pathway that might bypass the Golgi vesicular trafficking pathway, or that there might be two pools of channels with markedly different half-lives in the apical membrane.
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ABSTRACT: Epithelial sodium channels (ENaCs) mediate Na(+) entry across the apical membrane of high resistance epithelia that line the distal nephron, airway and alveoli, and distal colon. These channels are composed of three homologous subunits, termed alpha, beta, and gamma, which have intracellular amino and carboxyl termini and two membrane-spanning domains connected by large extracellular loops. Maturation of ENaC subunits involves furin-dependent cleavage of the extracellular loops at two sites within the alpha subunit and at a single site within the gamma subunit. The alpha subunits must be cleaved twice, immediately following Arg-205 and Arg-231, in order for channels to be fully active. Channels lacking alpha subunit cleavage are inactive with a very low open probability. In contrast, channels lacking both alpha subunit cleavage and the tract alphaAsp-206-Arg-231 are active when expressed in oocytes, suggesting that alphaAsp-206-Arg-231 functions as an inhibitor that stabilizes the channel in the closed conformation. A synthetic 26-mer peptide (alpha-26), corresponding to alphaAsp-206-Arg-231, reversibly inhibits wild-type mouse ENaCs expressed in Xenopus oocytes, as well as endogenous Na(+) channels expressed in either a mouse collecting duct cell line or primary cultures of human airway epithelial cells. The IC(50) for amiloride block of ENaC was not affected by the presence of alpha-26, indicating that alpha-26 does not bind to or interact with the amiloride binding site. Substitution of Arg residues within alpha-26 with Glu, or substitution of Pro residues with Ala, significantly reduced the efficacy of alpha-26. The peptide inhibits ENaC by reducing channel open probability. Our results suggest that proteolysis of the alpha subunit activates ENaC by disassociating an inhibitory domain (alphaAsp-206-Arg-231) from its effector site within the channel complex.Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2006; 281(27):18901-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) is assembled in the endoplasmic reticulum from three structurally related subunits (alpha, beta, and gamma). Channel maturation within the biosynthetic pathway involves cleavage of the alpha and gamma subunits by furin and processing of N-linked glycans on alpha, beta, and gamma to complex type. Both mature and immature subunits have been observed at the surface of stably transfected Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. We have examined whether channel maturation is an all-or-none event or whether heterogeneous processing of channel subunits occurs within an individual channel complex. Using an immobilized lectin to isolate proteins with complex type N-glycans, we found that individual channel complexes with mature subunits lack immature subunits. Furthermore, terminal processing of N-glycans on ENaC subunits was not dependent on cleavage of ENaC subunits, and proteolysis of channel subunits was not dependent on prior processing of N-glycans. Our results suggest that processing of subunits within an individual channel complex is an all-or-none event such that channels present on the cell surface contain either all mature or all immature subunits. The presence of immature channel complexes at the plasma membrane provides epithelial cells with a reserve of poorly functional channels that can be activated by proteases in post-Golgi compartments.Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2004; 279(47):48491-4. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To better understand how renal Na(+) reabsorption is altered by heavy metal poisoning, we examined the effects of several divalent heavy metal ions (Zn(2+), Ni(2+), Cu(2+), Pb(2+), Cd(2+), and Hg(2+)) on the activity of single epithelial Na(+) channels (ENaC) in a renal epithelial cell line (A6). None of the cations changed the single-channel conductance. However, ENaC activity [measured as the number of channels (N) x open probability (P(o))] was decreased by Cd(2+) and Hg(2+) and increased by Cu(2+), Zn(2+), and Ni(2+) but was not changed by Pb(2+). Of the cations that induced an increase in Na(+) channel function, Zn(2+) increased N, Ni(2+) increased P(o), and Cu(2+) increased both. The cysteine modification reagent [2-(trimethylammonium)ethyl]methanethiosulfonate bromide also increased N, whereas diethylpyrocarbonate, which covalently modifies histidine residues, affected neither P(o) nor N. Cu(2+) increased N and stimulated P(o) by reducing Na(+) self-inhibition. Furthermore, we observed that ENaC activity is slightly voltage dependent and that the voltage dependence of ENaC is insensitive to extracellular Na(+) concentration; however, apical application of Ni(2+) or diethylpyrocarbonate reduced the channel voltage dependence. Thus the voltage sensor of Xenopus ENaC is different from that of typical voltage-gated channels, since voltage appears to be sensed by histidine residues in the extracellular loops of ENaC, rather than by charged amino acids in a transmembrane domain.American journal of physiology. Renal physiology 08/2007; 293(1):F236-44. · 3.61 Impact Factor