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

Mutational analysis of cysteine-rich domains of the epithelium sodium channel (ENaC). Identification of cysteines essential for channel expression at the cell surface.

One of the characteristic features of the structure of the epithelial sodium channel family (ENaC) is the presence of two highly conserved cysteine-rich domains (CRD1 and CRD2) in the large extracellular loops of the proteins. We have studied the role of CRDs in the functional expression of rat alphabetagamma ENaC subunits by systematically mutating cysteine residues (singly or in combinations) into either serine or alanine. In the Xenopus oocyte expression system, mutations of two cysteines in CRD1 of alpha, beta, or gamma ENaC subunits led to a temperature-dependent inactivation of the channel. In CRD1, one of the cysteines of the rat alphaENaC subunit (Cys158) is homologous to Cys133 of the corresponding human subunit causing, when mutated to tyrosine (C133Y), pseudohypoaldosteronism type 1, a severe salt-loosing syndrome in neonates. In CRD2, mutation of two cysteines in alpha and beta but not in the gamma subunit also produced a temperature-dependent inactivation of the channel. The main features of the mutant cysteine channels are: (i) a decrease in cell surface expression of channel molecules that parallels the decrease in channel activity and (ii) a normal assembly or rate of degradation as assessed by nondenaturing co-immunoprecipitation of [35S]methionine-labeled channel protein. These data indicate that the two cysteines in CRD1 and CRD2 are not a prerequisite for subunit assembly and/or intrinsic channel activity. We propose that they play an essential role in the efficient transport of assembled channels to the plasma membrane.[1]


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