- The paraoxonase (PON) family comprises three highly conserved members: PON1, PON2, and PON3. They are orthologs of Caenorhabditis elegans MEC-6, an endoplasmic reticulum–resident chaperone that has a critical role in proper assembly and surface expression of the touch-sensing degenerin channel in nematodes. We have shown recently that MEC-6 and PON2 negatively regulate functional expression of the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC), suggesting that the chaperone function is conserved within this family.
- Epithelial 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.
- The Caenorhabditis elegans MEC-4/MEC-10 channel mediates the worm's response to gentle body touch and is activated by laminar shear stress (LSS) when expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Substitutions at multiple sites within the second transmembrane domain (TM2) of MEC-4 or MEC-10 abolish the gentle touch response in worms, but the roles of these residues in mechanosensing are unclear. The present study therefore examined the role of specific MEC-4 and MEC-10 TM2 residues in the channel's response to LSS.
- Paraoxonase-2 (PON-2) is a membrane-bound lactonase with unique anti-oxidative and anti-atherosclerotic properties. PON-2 shares key structural elements with MEC-6, an endoplasmic reticulum–resident molecular chaperone in Caenorhabditis elegans. MEC-6 modulates the expression of a mechanotransductive ion channel comprising MEC-4 and MEC-10 in touch-receptor neurons. Because pon-2 mRNA resides in multiple rat nephron segments, including the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron where the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) is expressed, we hypothesized that PON-2 would similarly regulate ENaC expression.
- Mechanotransduction in Caenorhabditis elegans touch receptor neurons is mediated by an ion channel formed by MEC-4, MEC-10, and accessory proteins. To define the role of these subunits in the channel's response to mechanical force, we expressed degenerin channels comprising MEC-4 and MEC-10 in Xenopus oocytes and examined their response to laminar shear stress (LSS). Shear stress evoked a rapid increase in whole cell currents in oocytes expressing degenerin channels as well as channels with a MEC-4 degenerin mutation (MEC-4d), suggesting that C.