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J Biol Chem. 2007 Nov 23;282(47):34048-57. Epub 2007 Sep 21.

Modulation of epithelial sodium channel trafficking and function by sodium 4-phenylbutyrate in human nasal epithelial cells.

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INSERM Unit 841, Université Paris 12, Créteil, France.


Sodium 4-phenylbutyrate (4-PBA) has been shown to correct the cellular trafficking of several mutant or nonmutant plasma membrane proteins such as cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator through the expression of 70-kDa heat shock proteins. The objective of the study was to determine whether 4-PBA may influence the functional expression of epithelial sodium channels (ENaC) in human nasal epithelial cells (HNEC). Using primary cultures of HNEC, we demonstrate that 4-PBA (5 mm for 6 h) markedly stimulated amiloride-sensitive sodium channel activity and that this was related to an increased abundance of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-ENaC subunits in the apical membrane. The increase in ENaC cell surface expression (i) was due to insertion of newly ENaC subunits as determined by brefeldin A experiments and (ii) was not associated with cell surface retention of ENaC subunits because endocytosis of ENaC subunits was unchanged. In addition, we find that ENaC co-immunoprecipitated with the heat shock protein constitutively expressed Hsc70, that has been reported to modulate ENaC trafficking, and that 4-PBA decreased Hsc70 protein level. Finally, we report that in cystic fibrosis HNEC obtained from two cystic fibrosis patients, 4-PBA increased functional expression of ENaC as demonstrated by the increase in amiloride-sensitive sodium transport and in alpha-, beta-, and gamma-ENaC subunit expression in the apical membrane. Our results suggest that in HNEC, 4-PBA increases the functional expression of ENaC through the insertion of new alpha-, beta-, and gamma-ENaC subunits into the apical membrane and also suggest that 4-PBA could modify ENaC trafficking by reducing Hsc70 protein expression.

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