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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2008;40(5):942-53. Epub 2007 Nov 17.

Requirement of hydrogen peroxide and Sp1 in the stimulation of Na,K-ATPase by low potassium in MDCK epithelial cells.

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  • 1The State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, College of Life Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, PR China.


We have previously implicated reactive oxygen species oxygen (ROS) as a critical signal transducer in the upregulation of Na,K-ATPase by low K+ in MDCK cells, but how ROS mediate this process has not been well defined. We reported here that both of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide anion (O2*(-)) were rapidly produced at the early stage of low K+-treated MDCK cells. Further analysis revealed that NADP/NADPH oxidase-derived H2O2 was specifically involved in low K+-induced Na,K-ATPase alpha1 gene transcription as well as alpha1 and beta1 subunits expressions. Exogenous H2O2 even mimicked the stimulatory effect of low K+ on Na,K-ATPase alpha1 gene transcription. Low K+ triggered a H2O2-dependent ERK1/2 phosphorylation in MDCK cells, nonetheless, this ERK1/2 activation did not finally lead to the upregulation of Na,K-ATPase. Similar to previous findings that Na,K-ATPase beta1 gene transcription was mediated by Sp1, Na,K-ATPase alpha1 gene transcription in low K+-treated MDCK cells was also closely relevant to Sp1 participation, as confirmed by siRNA as well as PCR mutagenesis technologies. Furthermore, Sp1 activation was dependent on H2O2 generation triggered by low K+. Taken together, the data described in this study outlines an essential role of H2O2 and Sp1 in mediating the upregulation of Na,K-ATPase in MDCK cells by low external K+.

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