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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tissue-specific expression of alpha and beta messenger ribonucleic acid isoforms of the human mineralocorticoid receptor in normal and pathological states.

Expression of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) is restricted to some sodium-transporting epithelia and a few nonepithelial target tissues. Determination of the genomic structure of the human MR (hMR) revealed two different untranslated exons (1alpha and 1beta), which splice alternatively into the common exon 2, giving rise to two hMR mRNA isoforms (hMR alpha and hMR beta). We have investigated expression of hMR transcripts in renal, cardiac, skin, and colonic tissue samples by in situ hybridization with exon 1alpha and 1beta specific riboprobes, using an exon 2 probe as internal control. Specific signals for either exon 1alpha- and 1beta-containing mRNAs were detected in typically hMR-expressing cells in all tissues analyzed. hMR alpha and hMR beta were present in distal tubules of the kidney, in cardiomyocytes, in enterocytes of the colonic mucosa, and in keratinocytes and sweat glands. Interestingly, although both isoforms appear to be expressed at approximately the same level, the relative abundance of each message compared with that of exon 2-containing mRNA strikingly differs among aldosterone target tissues, suggesting the possibility of other tissue-specific transcripts originating from alternative splicing. Finally, functional hypermineralocorticism was associated with reduced expression of hMR beta in sweat glands of two patients affected by Conn's and Liddle's syndrome, whereas normal levels of hMR isoforms were found in one case of pseudohypoaldosteronism. Altogether, our results indicate a differential, tissue-specific expression of hMR mRNA isoforms, hMR beta being down-regulated in situations of positive sodium balance, independently of aldosterone levels.[1]


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