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Am J Physiol. 1995 May;268(5 Pt 1):C1157-63.

Cloning and expression of the beta- and gamma-subunits of the human epithelial sodium channel.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, USA.


Amiloride-sensitive Na+ channels are an important component of the Na+ reabsorption pathway in a number of epithelia. Here we report the cloning and characterization of cDNAs encoding two subunits of the human kidney epithelial Na+ channel (beta- and gamma-hENaC). Their predicted amino acid sequences were highly homologous (83-85% identical) to the corresponding subunits reported from rat colon (beta- and gamma-rENaC). Both beta- and gamma-hENaC mapped to human chromosome 16. Northern blot analysis showed high expression of beta- and gamma-hENaC in kidney and lung and differential expression of the three subunits in other tissues. Coexpression of beta- and gamma-hENaC with alpha-hENaC in Xenopus oocytes produced Na+ channels with high selectivity for Na+ and high sensitivity to amiloride. In addition, human subunits were able to substitute for the corresponding rat subunits in forming functional Na+ channels, suggesting conservation of function and suggesting that differences in sequence do not disrupt interactions between subunits. These results suggest that human alpha-, beta-, and gamma-ENaC together form Na+ channels with properties that are similar to those observed in epithelia, and will allow further investigation into the role that these channels may play in human disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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