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J Biol Chem. 1999 Aug 13;274(33):23286-95.

Association of the epithelial sodium channel with Apx and alpha-spectrin in A6 renal epithelial cells.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Recent molecular cloning of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) provides the opportunity to identify ENaC-associated proteins that function in regulating its cell surface expression and activity. We have examined whether ENaC is associated with Apx (apical protein Xenopus) and the spectrin-based membrane cytoskeleton in Xenopus A6 renal epithelial cells. We have also addressed whether Apx is required for the expression of amiloride-sensitive Na(+) currents by cloned ENaC. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation of A6 cell detergent extracts showed co-sedimentation of xENaC, alpha-spectrin, and Apx. Immunoblot analysis of proteins co-immunoprecipitating under high stringency conditions from peak Xenopus ENaC/Apx-containing gradient fractions indicate that ENaC, Apx, and alpha-spectrin are associated in a macromolecular complex. To examine whether Apx is required for the functional expression of ENaC, alphabetagamma mENaC cRNAs were coinjected into Xenopus oocytes with Apx sense or antisense oligodeoxynucleotides. The two-electrode voltage clamp technique showed there was a marked reduction in amiloride-sensitive current in oocytes coinjected with antisense oligonucleotides when to compared with oocytes coinjected with sense oligonucleotides. These studies indicate that ENaC is associated in a macromolecular complex with Apx and alpha-spectrin in A6 cells and suggest that Apx is required for the functional expression of ENaC in Xenopus epithelia.

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