Renal Physiology

EphA2: expression in the renal medulla and regulation by hypertonicity and urea stress in vitro and in vivo

Hongshi Xu, Wei Tian, Jessie N. Lindsley, Terry T. Oyama, Juan M. Capasso, Christopher J. Rivard, Herbert T. Cohen, Serena M. Bagnasco, Sharon Anderson, David M. Cohen


EphA2, a member of the large family of Eph receptor tyrosine kinases, is highly expressed in epithelial tissue and has been implicated in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, as well as cell growth and survival. Expression of EphA2 mRNA and protein was markedly upregulated by both hypertonic stress and by elevated urea concentrations in cells derived from the murine inner medullary collecting duct. This upregulation likely required transactivation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor tyrosine kinase and metalloproteinase-dependent ectodomain cleavage of an EGF receptor ligand, based on pharmacological inhibitor studies. A human EphA2 promoter fragment spanning nucleotides −4030 to +21 relative to the putative EphA2 transcriptional start site was responsive to tonicity but insensitive to urea. A promoter fragment spanning −1890 to +128 recapitulated both tonicity- and urea-dependent upregulation of expression, consistent with transcriptional activation. Neither the bona fide p53 response element at approximately −1.5 kb nor a pair of putative TonE elements at approximately −3 kb conferred the tonicity responsiveness. EphA2 mRNA and protein were expressed at low levels in rat renal cortex but at high levels in the collecting ducts of the renal medulla and papilla. Water deprivation in rats increased EphA2 expression in renal papilla, whereas dietary supplementation with 20% urea increased EphA2 expression in outer medulla. These data indicate that transcription and expression of the EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase are regulated by tonicity and urea in vitro and suggest that this phenomenon is also operative in vivo. Renal medullary EphA2 expression may represent an adaptive response to medullary hypertonicity or urea exposure.

  • osmotic
  • cell volume regulation
  • receptor tyrosine kinase
  • signal transduction
  • rat
  • kidney
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