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J Biol Chem. 2004 Oct 1;279(40):41750-7. Epub 2004 Jul 26.

Stress-induced expression of the gamma subunit (FXYD2) modulates Na,K-ATPase activity and cell growth.

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Laboratory of Membrane Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


In kidney, the Na,K-ATPase is associated with a single span protein, the gamma subunit (FXYD2). Two splice variants are differentially expressed along the nephron and have a differential influence on Na,K-ATPase when stably expressed in mammalian cells in culture. Here we used a combination of gene induction and gene silencing techniques to test the functional impact of gamma by means other than transfection. NRK-52E cells (of proximal tubule origin) do not express gamma as a protein under regular tissue culture conditions. However, when they were exposed to hyperosmotic medium, induction of only the gammaa splice variant was observed, which was accompanied by a reduction in the rate of cell division. Kinetic analysis of stable enzyme properties from control (alpha1beta1) and hypertonicity-treated cultures (alpha1beta1gammaa) revealed a significant reduction (up to 60%) of Na,K-ATPase activity measured under V(max) conditions with little or no change in the amounts of alpha1beta1. This effect as well as the reduction in cell growth rate was practically abolished when gamma expression was knocked down using specific small interfering RNA duplexes. Surprisingly, a similar induction of endogenous gammaa because of hypertonicity was seen in rat cell lines of other than renal origin: C6 (glioma), PC12 (pheochromocytoma), and L6 (myoblasts). Furthermore, exposure of NRK-52E cells to other stress inducers such as heat shock, exogenous oxidation, and chemical stress also resulted in a selective induction of gammaa. Taken together, the data imply that induction of gammaa may have adaptive value by being a part of a general cellular response to genotoxic stress.

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