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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2008 Jan;324(1):376-82. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Identification, coassembly, and activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor subunits in renal proximal tubular cells.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 280 Calhoun St., POB 250140, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Although the properties and functions of GABA(A) receptors in the mammalian central nervous system have been well studied, the presence and significance of GABA(A) receptors in non-neural tissues are less clear. The goal of this study was to examine the expression of GABA(A) receptor alpha(1), alpha(2), alpha(4), alpha(5), beta(1), gamma(1), gamma(2), and delta subunits in the kidney and to determine whether these subunits coassemble to form an active renal epithelial cell GABA(A) receptor. Using reverse transcriptase products from RNA isolated from rat and rabbit kidney cortex and brain or cerebellum through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of the PCR products, we revealed that rat kidney cortex contained the alpha(1), alpha(5), beta(1), gamma(1), and gamma(2) subunits and that they were similar to the neuronal subunits. Sequencing of the PCR products revealed that the rabbit kidney cortex contained the alpha(1) and gamma(2) subunits and that they were similar to their neuronal counterparts. Immunoprecipitation and immunoblot studies using GABA(A) receptor subunit-specific antibodies and detergent-solubilized rat kidney cortex membranes identified a GABA(A) receptor complex containing alpha(5), beta(1), and gamma(1). Isolated rat renal proximal tubular cells exhibited GABA-mediated, picrotoxin-sensitive (36)Cl(-) uptake. These studies demonstrate the presence of numerous GABA(A) receptor subunits in the kidneys of two species, the assembly of the subunits into at least one novel receptor complex, and an active GABA(A) receptor in renal proximal tubular cells.

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