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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e46593. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046593. Epub 2012 Sep 28.

The epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) establishes a trafficking vesicle pool responsible for its regulation.

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Department of Medicine, Renal-Electrolyte Division, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


The epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) is the rate-limiting step for sodium reabsorption across tight epithelia. Cyclic-AMP (cAMP) stimulation promotes ENaC trafficking to the apical surface to increase channel number and transcellular Na(+) transport. Removal of corticosteroid supplementation in a cultured cortical collecting duct cell line reduced ENaC expression. Concurrently, the number of vesicles trafficked in response to cAMP stimulation, as measured by a change in membrane capacitance, also decreased. Stimulation with aldosterone restored both the basal and cAMP-stimulated ENaC activity and increased the number of exocytosed vesicles. Knocking down ENaC directly decreased both the cAMP-stimulated short-circuit current and capacitance response in the presence of aldosterone. However, constitutive apical recycling of the Immunoglobulin A receptor was unaffected by alterations in ENaC expression or trafficking. Fischer Rat Thyroid cells, transfected with α,β,γ-mENaC had a significantly greater membrane capacitance response to cAMP stimulation compared to non-ENaC controls. Finally, immunofluorescent labeling and quantitation revealed a smaller number of vesicles in cells where ENaC expression was reduced. These findings indicate that ENaC is not a passive passenger in regulated epithelial vesicle trafficking, but plays a role in establishing and maintaining the pool of vesicles that respond to cAMP stimulation.

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