Single-channel analysis of functional epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) stability at the apical membrane of A6 distal kidney cells.

Center for Cell and Molecular Signaling, Department of Physiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Whitehead Biomedical Research Bldg. 615 Michael St., Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
American journal of physiology. Renal physiology (Impact Factor: 3.3). 10/2008; 295(5):F1519-27. DOI: 10.1152/ajprenal.00605.2007
Source: PubMed

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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