Extracellular intersubunit interactions modulate epithelial Na+ channel gatingEpithelial Na+ channels (ENaCs) and related channels have large extracellular domains where specific factors interact and induce conformational changes, leading to altered channel activity. However, extracellular structural transitions associated with changes in ENaC activity are not well defined. Using crosslinking and two-electrode voltage clamp in Xenopus oocytes, we identified several pairs of functional intersubunit contacts where mouse ENaC activity was modulated by inducing or breaking a disulfide bond between introduced Cys residues.
Accessibility of ENaC extracellular domain central core residuesThe epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC)/degenerin family has a similar extracellular architecture, where specific regulatory factors interact and alter channel gating behavior. The extracellular palm domain serves as a key link to the channel pore. In this study, we used cysteine-scanning mutagenesis to assess the functional effects of Cys-modifying reagents on palm domain β10 strand residues in mouse ENaC. Of the 13 ENaC α subunit mutants with Cys substitutions examined, only mutants at sites in the proximal region of β10 exhibited changes in channel activity in response to methanethiosulfonate reagents.
Analyses of epithelial Na+ channel variants reveal that an extracellular β-ball domain critically regulates ENaC gatingEpithelial Na+ channel (ENaC)-mediated Na+ transport has a key role in the regulation of extracellular fluid volume, blood pressure, and extracellular [K+]. Among the thousands of human ENaC variants, only a few exist whose functional consequences have been experimentally tested. Here, we used the Xenopus oocyte expression system to investigate the functional roles of four nonsynonymous human ENaC variants located within the β7-strand and its adjacent loop of the α-subunit extracellular β-ball domain.
Thumb domains of the three epithelial Na+ channel subunits have distinct functionsThe epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) possesses a large extracellular domain formed by a β-strand core enclosed by three peripheral α-helical subdomains, which have been dubbed thumb, finger, and knuckle. Here we asked whether the ENaC thumb domains play specific roles in channel function. To this end, we examined the characteristics of channels lacking a thumb domain in an individual ENaC subunit (α, β, or γ). Removing the γ subunit thumb domain had no effect on Na+ currents when expressed in Xenopus oocytes, but moderately reduced channel surface expression.
Functional Roles of Clusters of Hydrophobic and Polar Residues in the Epithelial Na+ Channel Knuckle DomainBackground: There are regulatory interactions between ENaC and extracellular factors.Results: Mutations of multiple α subunit knuckle residues activate ENaC by suppressing the inhibitory effect of Na+. Channels lacking the β or γ subunit knuckle have processing defects.Conclusion: Interactions between the α subunit knuckle and palm/finger domains regulate ENaC.Significance: Intrasubunit domain-domain interactions have important regulatory roles.