Renal Physiology

Dot1a contains three nuclear localization signals and regulates the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) at multiple levels

Mary Rose Reisenauer, Steven W. Wang, Yang Xia, Wenzheng Zhang


We have previously reported that Dot1a is located in the cytoplasm and nucleus (Reisenauer MR, Anderson M, Huang L, Zhang Z, Zhou Q, Kone BC, Morris AP, Lesage GD, Dryer SE, Zhang W. J Biol Chem 284: 35659–35669, 2009), widely expressed in the kidney as detected by its histone H3K79 methyltransferase activity (Zhang W, Hayashizaki Y, Kone BC. Biochem J 377: 641–651, 2004), and involved in transcriptional control of the epithelial Na+ channel subunit-α gene (αENaC) (Zhang W, Xia X, Jalal DI, Kuncewicz T, Xu W, Lesage GD, Kone BC. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 290: C936–C946, 2006). Aldosterone releases repression of αENaC by reducing expression of Dot1a and its partner AF9 (Zhang W, Xia X, Reisenauer MR, Hemenway CS, Kone BC. J Biol Chem 281: 18059–18068, 2006) and by impairing Dot1a-AF9 interaction via Sgk1-mediated AF9 phosphorylation (Zhang W, Xia X, Reisenauer MR, Rieg T, Lang F, Kuhl D, Vallon V, Kone BC. J Clin Invest 117: 773–783, 2007). This network also appears to regulate transcription of several other aldosterone target genes. Here, we provide evidence showing that Dot1a contains at least three potential nuclear localization signals (NLSs). Deletion of these NLSs causes green fluorescent protein-fused Dot1a fusions to localize almost exclusively in the cytoplasm of 293T cells as revealed by confocal microscopy. Deletion of NLSs abolished Dot1a-mediated repression of αENaC-promoter luciferase construct in M1 cells. AF9 is widely expressed in mouse kidney. Similar to αENaC, the mRNA levels of βENaC, γENaC, and Sgk1 are also downregulated by Dot1a and AF9 overexpression. Small interference RNA-mediated knockdown of Dot1a and AF9 or aldosterone treatment leads to an opposite effect. Using single-cell fluorescence imaging or equivalent short-circuit current in IMCD3 and M1 cells, we show that observed transcriptional alterations correspond to changes in ENaC and Sgk1 protein levels as well as benzamil-sensitive Na+ transport. In brief, Dot1a and AF9 downregulate Na+ transport, most likely by regulating ENaC mRNA and subsequent protein expression and ENaC activity.

  • aldosterone
  • sodium-binding benzofuran isophthalate acetoxymethyl ester
  • intracellular Na+ concentration
  • equivalent short-circuit current
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